Tour Rome’s underground burial chambers and crypts to discover a history that predates Christianity, and post-dates the Renaissance.
This tour takes you back to a time when Christianity was considered a cult and its members were executed as heretics and buried as martyrs. You will see hundreds of burial chambers, from modest single sites to extravagant family tombs, in the long corridors of the underground city.
First, visit the Capuchin Crypt and Museum for an encounter with Caravaggio’s magnificent “St. Francis in Meditation” canvas, along with masterpieces by Domenichino and Reni. See relics from the life of St. Francis and some of his followers. The Crypt is decorated with the bones of 4,000 Capuchin monks, including real skull and crossbones and chandeliers made of human vertebrae.
Combine this incredible experience with a visit of the Diocletian Baths and the National Roman Museum.
The Baths of Diocletian (Terme di Diocleziano) are the most imposing thermal complex ever built in Rome. Erected between 298 and 306 CE, they spanned more than 13 hectares and could accommodate up to 3000 people at the same time, within a structure consisting of a series of environments such as gymnasia, libraries, a swimming pool of more than 3500 square metres and those rooms that were the heart of every thermal complex: the frigidarium (cold bath), the tepidarium (lukewarm bath) and the calidarium (hot bath). It was precisely these latter spacious rooms the ones converted by Michelangelo into the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and the Christian Martyrs: in the other environments arose the Carthusian Monastery, conceived by the artist himself.
Original seat of the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Roman Museum) since its institution in 1889, the Baths and the Charterhouse are currently undergoing a restoration process that has thus far permitted the reopening of a part of the monumental complex and of the two sections of such a composite museum, the Section of Proto-history of the Latin Peoples and the Epigraphic Section, this one pertaining to Written Communication in the Roman World.
Besides the exhibition, visitors can enjoy, therefore, the sumptuous and imposing Aula Decima, wherein are exhibited the big tomb of the Platorini and two chamber tombs, decorated with frescoes and stuccoes, originally from the Necropolis of the Via Portuensis.
It is then possible to have a stroll in the large Michelangelo’s Cloister of the Charterhouse, which today is an unexpected haven of peace and silence despite being only a few steps from the bustling Termini Train Station; in it are on display more than 400 artworks such as statues, reliefs, altars, sarcophagi, all coming from the Roman environs.