At the entrance of Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. More than any other road, Via Appia Antica offers fascinanting, archeological and artistic elements as well as lovely scenary and also offers some of the most important evidence about early Christianity. Some of the best known Roman catacombs, as these ancient Christian subterranean cemeteries have been called since the 9th century, lie beneath the ancient road. The term Catacomb (from Greek kata cymba = near the cavity) actually first referred specifically to the site of the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, which was a pozzolana quarry whose galleries were used for the first Christian cemetery. Thousand of cunicula carved out on various levels for kilometers, resulting in an inextricable spider web in qhich it is easy to lose your way. For this reason visits to the catacombs are conducted only by official guides. The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, above which a great basilica was built in the 4th century, were discovered during a 17th century restoration by Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Vasanzio. On the second level underground is the Crypt of St. Sebastian, where the body of the saint remained until it was transferred to the basilica during the restoration work. The Cubiculum of Jonah, with interesting frescoes of the biblical story of Jonah, and the scene of Noah saved from the Ark (late 4th century), the Sarcophagus of Lot, the Piazzola, an early entrance to the catacombs. The Three Mausoleums (in particularly good condition) face the Piazzola.
For more information: wwww.catacombe.org