A Little Known Secret:
Beneath Rome’s wide-open and sun-baked squares, bright colored markets, and pastel colored homes, lays a dark, cavernous structure filled with ancient temples, catacombs and imperial Roman palaces that time forgot!
Most of this “secret city” remained hidden and unknown for centuries prior to the advent of modern archaeology. Hence only recently have such artistic and architectural treasures been available to the public.
Our Tour: Our 4-hour tour will begins in the Basilica di San Clemente, located near the Colosseum. In this church you will descend into layers of ancient history and artifacts hidden below.
The base of St. Clemente is that of a 2nd Century Roman home, whose courtyard served as a major center of worship to the Persian god, Mitra. Still visible are the ancient alter and stone pews around which worshipers gathered and prayed. Looking closely at the altar you make out an image of Mitra sacrificing a bull, the ancient symbol of health and fertility.
We return above ground, leading you on to one of the ancient wonders of the Roman Empire: Nero’s Domus Aurea (“Golden House”), which once extended over 150 acres of the imperial capital.
Buried under layers of earth for centuries, archaeologists discovered an emperor’s downtown executive palace adorned with –what else – gold! Evidence of this is still seen in its gilded ceilings, tapestries, columns, fountains, mosaics and statues.
Nero, the leisure-loving emperor, proved that when he did build something, he did so in total decadence. And he did so amid historic controversy –constructing his palace atop the ashes of Rome’s “accidental” inferno in 64 a.d. At any rate, enjoy a guided tour the Golden House’s precious mosaics, frescos, dining halls, fountains, and temples –all still intact, while preserved under layers of earth for nearly 2000 years!
Next we head past the Baths of Caracalla down the ancient cobble-stoned Appian Way. Our destination is the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, daughter of a distinguished noble Roman family. The tomb itself, a cylinder-shaped mausoleum, is perhaps more famous than the person buried therein. What is known is that Cecilia Metella was the wife of one Julius Caesar’s most successful and ferocious generals in ancient Gaul, Crassus.
Continuing along the Appian Way, we will lead you to the catacombs, the labyrinthine burial site to thousands of fearless early Roman Christians –many of whom were martyred while fed to hungry lions in the Colosseum.
Our driver will drop you off at the entrance where you may receive a guided tour in your own language at either the Catacombs of San Callisto, San Sebastiano or Santa Domitilla. The choice is yours!
You will descend nearly 25 meters, where temperatures are pleasantly 10-20 degrees cooler on a roasting hot summer day. Here you will have the unique privilege of viewing some of Christianity ‘s first sacred artwork, temples and tombs!