Conceptio in Itinere

Going along "Via delle Sette Chiese"

A stretch of the Pilgrimage Way; from the Catacomb to St Paul Basilica outside the Walls
length 3hrs approx  Available: everyday am/pm

Transfer to one of the Christian Catacombs of Rome, according to the opening day it may be St Calisto, St Sebastian or St Domitilla. There are more than sixty catacombs in Rome, with more than hundred kilometres of galleries and thousands tombs. They were simply collective cemeteries, deep into the ground. Christians adopted the pre-existing excavation system and developed that on a large scale with galleries and overlapped levels. The cult of the martyrs buried in the catacombs is explanatory of the quick and large growing of this kind of constructions, cause many Christians aspired to have a tomb close to one of their “venerated” have their protection.


For their importance, the precious heritage of paintings and sculptures, the Catacombs are nowadays visited by thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world. They are authentic archives of the primitive Church, an attestation of the costumes and rituals of how the Christian doctrine was meant and applied. After having visited one of the Catacombs of Rome, lets continue our visit following the ancient Pilgrimage Way of Via delle Sette Chiese connecting the catacombs to St Paul outside the Walls Basilica. It owns its name to the pilgrimage, reinstated by St Filippo Neri, to the Seven Jubilar Churches on 1552. Also Goethe, after two centuries, was enamoured by that.

Following Via delle Sette Chiese we arrive to St Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, one of the four Papal Basilicas of Rome, second in size only to St Peter Basilica. It has been built on the site indicated by the tradition as the burial-place of apostle Paul (at 3kms away from the martyrdom place) The tomb of the Saint is under the major altar, for this reason the Basilica has always been destination of pilgrimage.
Going up again on Via delle Sette Chiese, walking, we pass just close to the Commodilla catacombs (without entering) ending our promenade at St Isidoro in Eurosia Church, always in Garbatella quarter. Visit of this small church dated 1818, where the monks (St Philip monks) hidden the partisan away from the Nazi-soldiers during the II World War, sacrificing their own life. Today in the small Church is possible to celebrate Mass for our groups travelling with their priest.

Maybe at this point we can understand better the visit to the Seven Churches, the long walk of penitents looking for divine remission. During the pilgrimage the penitents used to stop along the way to take some refreshment… as optional we could propose a coffee or aperitif stop at the end of the visit.

Tour includes: transportation by private vehicle, authorized local English speaking guide, entrance fees to one Catacomb. Aperitif or coffee stop is optional.


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Images:  St Paul Basilica Outside the Walls.