The Catacombs of Rome

Image via Wikimedia CommonsGmihail at Serbian Wikipedia

In Rome, the Vatican maintains the Christian catacombs and offers tours to the public. Tight control by the Papacy has meant that exploration has not been as extensive as some archeologists and explorers would like. According to Adriano Morabito, president of the association Roma Sotterranea (Underground Rome), of the hundreds of kilometers of catacombs, only “some of the networks are well known and open to visitors, while others are still scarcely explored. Probably there are a number of lost catacombs, too.”

There are also Jewish catacombs, with the first discovered around 1859 by Giovanni Battista de Rossi at Vigna Randanini. A wonderful academic article by Jessica Dello Rosso details the bureaucracy and politics surrounding the excavation of Jewish catacombs in Rome, and their subsequent exploitation and damage due to status as non-Christian archeological sites. She writes, “The drama that unfolds during the second half of the nineteenthcentury in this archaeological dig thus leaves modern visitors with a curious, though hardly complete, understanding of the site.”
While this is simply a highlight of catacombs in some major cities, there are many more around the world, including in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Malta, Peru, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.