About the CatacombsAs Christianity spread in Rome, the Christians were persecuted by the Roman authorities. Therefore, they buried their dead in underground chambers. This was a method of protecting the graves from Roman desecration. The remains of these tombs are the catacombs, underground burial complexes dug by man and usually hewn into the walls.
The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian (Catacombe di San Sebastiano), located just below the Basilica of San Sebastian, is only a small part of Rome's many burial complexes. You will see examples of a variety of burial methods which characterized the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. You can enter the catacomb on a guided tour that runs every half hour.
The catacombs along Via Appia in Rome are considered to be the most famous, as well as the most interesting sites along its route.
What are Catacombes?Catacombs are man-made burial chambers dug underground. The plots are organized in corridors whose walls are hewn with graves.
The best known catacombs in Rome are those of the first Christians in the Roman Empire's capital. In the years between 64 AD and 313 AD, Christians were persecuted by the Roman authorities, who did everything in their power to hinder the Christians’ efforts to attract the citizens to the new religion. It is for this reason that the Christians were buried underground. In this way they protected their graves, out of reach of the Roman pagans.
There are decorations on the tombs from the early days of Christianity, which inspired many painters and artists in ancient times. You may be surprised to know that the Catacombs of Rome have Jewish tombs, and are not solely Christian.