Highlights of this tour

  • Exclusive guided visit to the only available Jewish Catacomb in Rome



Besides the ruins of a large Synagogue in Ostia, the six catacombs found so far in different areas of Rome, are the only archaeological evidence of the presence of a well settled Jewish community in Ancient Rome.

The idea of using underground galleries, mainly old quarries dug in tuff, to bury their dead, was common to both Early Christians and Jews (but we also find pagan burial places), mostly from the end of the II century A. D. The high cost of land in Rome must have forced these communities, who believed in resurrection and did not want to cremate the bodies as pagans frequently did, to use more affordable areas underground.

We will explore together the only available Jewish catacomb of Rome, Vigna Randanini, along the Appian Way, trying to reconstruct, by inspecting the burial places and the inscriptions still present on site, the life, vicissitudes, habits, activities, symbols of these early members of the oldest Jewish community in Europe.

Together with your expert guide, you will leave central Rome for a 20-minute drive, to find ourselves in the middle of a luscious countryside along the Appian Way, not far from the famous Catacombs of San Sebastian.

The Randanini Vineyard is still privately owned, but it is possible to organize a private visit on request. Escorted by a caretaker, that will be provided will powerful flashlights, we will descend 10-15 meters underground (there are different levels), walking for about 400 meters, stopping here and there to detect all the interesting elements.

The Jewish Catacombs will start to reveal their inscriptions, often in Latin and Greek – more rarely in Hebrew (your guide will explain why), frequently decorated with symbols, starting from the Menorah – the most recurrent – and continuing with the Etrog, the Shofar, and the Palms, frequent in the Diaspora.

You will also learn about the different typologies of burial solutions, the most unusual of which is the oven-like’, vertical niches, ‘kochim’ in Hebrew, common in Israeli archaeology, but very uncommon in Italy.

The itinerary inside the Jewish Catacombs, intricate and meandering, also incorporates a large Pagan family chapel, with three cubicles with rich ornamentation, showing colorful birds, flowers and human figures.

The Vigna Randanini catacomb, discovered accidentally in 1859, worked until the end of the 4th century. Together with the Villa Torlonia Catacomb, now closed for restoration, it is the only Jewish subterranean necropolis that has survived until our days, unfortunately suffering many lootings since antiquity. We recommend the visit to those visitors interested in learning about the Jewish social life in Ancient Rome.

We don’t recommend this itinerary to claustrophobic people, persons with serious walking disabilities,  families with kids below 10. The galleries are wide and have tall ceilings, the floor is smooth and there are no difficult passages or steep steps. Picture taking is permitted. The visit lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Cost of this tour

  • This tour lasts two and a half hours and costs 480 euros up to four people (not per person).
  • Only private parties.
  • cost includes admission to catacomb
  • transportation not included, from 220 euros
  • For larger parties send us an email!

Dress Code and advice

  • Short sleeves and knee high skirts/pants ok
  • comfortable shoes