Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano

Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Crypts & Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel & Transfers

1. Rome: Crypts & Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel & Transfers

Discover Rome's hidden layers of history beneath its streets. Travel by an air-conditioned coach and use skip-the-line access directly into three fascinating archaeological finds. Visit the hallowed catacombs where, beneath their persecutors’ feet, early Christians practiced their forbidden faith. Almost 2,000 years ago, this network of secret tunnels doubled as a place of worship and burial ground. As you explore tombs made of solid rock, your local expert guide will describe the intriguing history of this sacred spot. Next, travel to Basilica of San Martino ai Monti. Dating back to the 4th century, this church is located near the edge of the Parco del Colle Oppio. Admire the stunning frescoes by artists such as Pietro Testa, Matteo Riccione, and Giannangiolo Canini that adorn the church walls, and see the Chapel of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. Finally, visit the Capuchin Crypt. Capuchin monks used the bones of their nearly 4,000 brothers to intricately decorate the floor-to-ceiling designs, lending it the macabre nickname of "the Bone Chapel." Your guide will tell you the theories, but ultimately you will decide on the meaning of the crypt’s robed skeletons and vertebrae chandeliers. Open your eyes to the city’s hidden side – and you’ll never see Rome the same way again.

Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

2. Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

Uncover the secrets hidden the dark depths of the the Domitilla catacombs on this guided tour in Rome. Enjoy the convenience of a transfer from a centrally-located meeting point in the city. Learn about early Christian history and see the underground Basilica of Nereus. Meet your guide in the city center and head towards the Appian Way in a comfortable minivan. Reach one of the largest and oldest catacombs of Rome and venture 52 feet (16 meters) below the surface into the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Explore its endless maze of underground burial chambers, spread across 4 levels. Be captivated by ancient wall paintings of mythological and biblical figures and discover the religious symbolism of the frescoes. Learn about the shift from paganism to Christianity and hear about early martyrs and persecutions. Live the excitement of gradually exploring different layers of history. Complete your underworld experience in the 4th-century subterranean Basilica of Nereus and Achilleus. Then jump back in the minivan return to the city center.

Rome: Catacombs and Crypts Tour with Roman Aqueducts

3. Rome: Catacombs and Crypts Tour with Roman Aqueducts

Escape the crowds of the Colosseum and Vatican, and explore the darker side of Rome on a guided tour of the ancient catacombs and crypts. Venture to parts of the city that few visitors ever see, traveling between sites by air-conditioned minibus. First, follow your guide to 3 memorable sites, each revealing the extraordinary secrets of Ancient Rome. They include the labyrinthine Roman Catacombs that were part burial ground and part refuge for the persecuted early Christians of Ancient Rome. Then, visit the Capuchin Crypt, known locally as the “Bone Chapel,” and marvel at the walls, decorated with the bones more than 4,000 monks. To finish out the day in style, visit perhaps one of the most spectacular sites in all of Rome - the Roman Aqueducts. Enjoy time to explore and understand this monumental landmark from a stunning vantage point.

Rome: Underground Temples of St. Clement's Basilica Tour

4. Rome: Underground Temples of St. Clement's Basilica Tour

Cross three layers of history and earth as you venture 14 meters below St Clement's Basilica. Discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the City 14 meters underground. Find out about the pagan cult of Ancient Romans before Christianity and be intrigued by its sectarian and esoteric side. Meet your guide after checking in at the meeting point and head towards Rome's best-kept secret. Learn about the early-Christian persecutions, martyrs and hear the legend of St. Clement, while standing in the 1st Century structure that was once his home. Feel the eerie atmosphere and touch the waters of an underground river. Journey higher into the remains of the 4th Century Underground Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walk along its imposing walls and be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and the lives of the martyrs they portray. End your tour in the beautiful 12th-century Basilica at ground level. Marvel at the stunning golden mosaic in the apse, and learn about the hidden symbolism in it.

Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

5. Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

Explore 2 contrasting underground sights with an expert guide. Discover a hidden gem 14m below St. Clement’s Basilica and descend into the twisty tunnels of the Roman Catacombs. Meet your guide in front of St. Clement's Basilica and venture deep underground below its foundations into a mystical world of ancient cults and legends. Journey through several layers of history and earth, down to 14 meters below ground. Live the excitement of gradually exploring the later structures built on top of it on your way up to the surface. Go back in time down to the deepest point and discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the city. Touch the waters of an underground stream before going higher into the remains of the 4th Century Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walking along its imposing walls, you will be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and lives of the martyrs they portray. Then you will journey outside the city walls to one of the largest and most ancient catacombs, the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Descend 16 meters below the surface and explore the accessible part of its vast labyrinth of underground burial chambers and galleries revealing the shift of faith from paganism to Christianity.

Rome: San Clemente Underground & Basilica

6. Rome: San Clemente Underground & Basilica

Just a stone's throw from the Colosseum, you will find one of Rome's hidden gems, the 12th-century Basilica and the archeological site of San Clemente. Visit this incredible place and navigate three underground levels which uncover over 2,000 years of history. The Basilica reveals a sparkling gold mosaic in the central nave. What lies beneath the Basilica remained a secret until 1860 when a flood led an Irish Dominican Roman Catholic priest and archaeologist to discover the levels beneath.  Today, the excavations are still not complete but you can descend 100 feet underground. At the first level is a 4th-century Basilica, which was long forgotten after the construction of the 12th-century Basilica above. Further down are the remains of an ancient pagan Mithraic temple, complete with an altar. Past the temple are the ruins of ancient Roman homes. All of this is incredibly preserved and was painstakingly excavated. At the lowest level, discover the underground spring which caused the chaos that led to the underground discovery. 

Rome: Catacombs and Capuchin Crypt Tour

7. Rome: Catacombs and Capuchin Crypt Tour

Explore two amazing underground archaeological sites in one tour. Admission and transportation is included to all these sites and the Roman Catacombs. Rome's history isn't just contained within the 'historical center'. Your guide will help you stray off the tourist track and visit some of the city's last hidden gems like the Catacombs, an underground labyrinth that is unknown to 90% of visitors to Rome. The Small Group Catacombs Tour in Rome takes you underground to a mysterious place that uncovers a secret path paved by faith, endurance, and dedication. For nearly 3 centuries, Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire, and Christians were forced to bury their dead outside the city walls and perform their religious rituals in secrecy. Follow your guide on this incredible journey that also gives you the chance to walk on one of the world's most famous and ancient roads that was the main artery to the Roman Empire, the Ancient Appian Way.  Apart from the main top attractions in Rome there are many other great places to explore, and your guide will take you on guided tour of some of the lesser known highlights of Rome. It is estimated that around 95% of all of the tourists that come to Rome do not visit these underground labyrinths of the Roman Catacombs. On this Small Group Catacombs Tour in Rome you'll uncover the history of a religion that existed 2,000 years ago and rivaled Christianity. Afterwards, you'll visit an underground Basilica of the 4th century and the Catacombs of Domitilla dating back to the 1st Century AD. This tour meets near the Colosseum and finishes in the same location. Exact meeting point will be provided after purchase. Transpiration is included from our meeting point to the Catacombs and back. The vehicles are climate controlled, handy for hot summer months. You'll be accompanied by an expert local guide the entire time.

Christian Rome and Underground Basilicas 3-Hour Tour

8. Christian Rome and Underground Basilicas 3-Hour Tour

Enjoy a half-day walking tour of Christian Rome and discover underground treasures in some of the most sensational churches. Your guide will tell you fascinating facts along the way, leading you to the ancient Basilica of San Clemente, and the Cathedral of St. John in the Lateran Palace. Start at the Basilica of San Clemente, the only church in Rome to be built on 3 different levels. Constructed from the 1st to the 12th centuries, 2 underground floors can now be explored, including the Altar of Mithras from the 1st century. Continue to the church of the Santi Quattro Coronati, devoted to 4 anonymous saints and martyrs. In 2002, an extraordinary series of frescoes was uncovered depicting scenes from the Zodiac, Four Seasons, Liberal Arts, and King Solomon. Follow the story of the Emperor Constantine and Pope Sylvester in the Chapel of St. Sylvester, where it is said the famous Constitutum Constantini (Donation of Constantine) took place. End your tour at the Cathedral of Rome, also known as the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. The oldest of the 4 Papal Basilicas, St. John Lateran boasts a splendid façade, but it’s the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) that will catch your eye.

Crypts, Catacombs & Dark Heart of Rome Supersaver Tour

9. Crypts, Catacombs & Dark Heart of Rome Supersaver Tour

Delve into the unusual aspects of Rome’s history on 2 unique tours that introduce you to the ancient city's darker dimensions. Kick-off this full day with a crypts and catacombs tour that visits 3 unforgettable sites in the Eternal City. Your tour begins at the ancient Roman Catacombs. Dating back to the second century A.D. this extensive network of tunnels winds it way beneath the city. Established in the days when Nero was torturing Christians, the tunnels became a place of burial, as well as refuge and celebration. The next stop is the Basilica San Clemente, another site that few visitors ever see. Descend from a 12th century Basilica down through a huge 4th-century basilica, a 2nd-century sanctuary of the mysterious Mithraic cult and, finally, to ruins dating back to the reign of Nero and the Great Fire of 64 AD. Finish off this part of the tour with a visit to the Capuchin Crypt, known locally as the Bone Chapel. The Capuchin monks used the bones of 4,000 of their brothers to decorate the walls and ceilings. Between excursions, enjoy some free time to have dinner or go for a stroll in the historical center of Rome, taking in the magnificent sunset. As the sun sets over Rome a new city comes to life. Having survived the Middle Ages and the Inquisition, the city has stories to tell that are far from average bedtime tales. For 90 minutes you’ll wander through piazzas in the dark heart of Rome with an expert English-speaking storyteller, listening to stories of murders, executions, and betrayals. See the house of the most notorious murderer ever to work in the Eternal City and visit the bridge that, according to the legend, is haunted by the ghost of the female pope.

Rome: 2.5-Hour San Clemente & Underground Private Tour

10. Rome: 2.5-Hour San Clemente & Underground Private Tour

Begin your journey near the Colosseum and take a pleasant walk through the surrounding neighborhood. In a delightful little piazza off Via Cavour, you will find the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains). The church houses an important relic, the two sets of chains that bound St. Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem and Rome. The highlight of this church is undoubtedly Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, an unfinished masterpiece by the Renaissance genius that was originally intended to be part of the tomb of Pope Julius II. The original plans included an enormous funeral monument with 47 statues, but it was never completed due to Michelangelo's other commissions. Leaving San Pietro in Vincoli, continue to see the ruins of the Ludus Magnus, an ancient gladiator training school located on the northeast side of the Colosseum. The arena was connected with the school by underground tunnels. Your last stop will be the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano along Via San Giovanni. This 12th century basilica is a great example of architectural chronology: the structure is a three-level building complex with each level corresponding to a major era of Roman history. Remains under the present basilica suggest that the foundation was part of a Republican era villa. In the 4th century, this was converted into a Christian church dedicated to Pope St. Clement, the third pope after St. Peter. The present medieval basilica was built in 1100.

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What people are saying about Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,990 reviews

A very interesting and varied tour. Length was just right - we had an 11 year old and a 9 year old with us. Lovely to visit the aqueducts - a beautiful location and nice to be within nature and away from the city. The Catacombs were unique and definitely something to remember.

We had Marle Robinson as our guide and she was amazing, the extent of her knowledge was fantastic. She has opened up our minds with her explanations and stories of the past. This is a must not miss tour, but you must ask for Marle!

I’m so thankful I booked the guided tour as without our guide Paul, we would not have heard, or known about, the extensive history. Paul went well above and beyond to the benefit of pour experience.

It was so interesting to see the catacombs and learn all of the historical information. Our guide was incredible and had so much knowledge!

Guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Was a really interesting experience, one not to be missed