A Tourist in Rome - Vatican Necropolis
|Location:||At St. Peter's Square|
|Metro:||Ottaviano/San Pietro, then walk 10 minutes south|
|Time:||about 90 well-spent minutes|
|Hours:||Reserve a time here|
The Vatican Necropolis Tour is a 90-minute tour offered by the Vatican to see the Necropolis (cemetary) under the Vatican which was discovered when they were looking to expose the tomb of St. Peter. You must reserve this tour well in advance. This is the only way to see the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica, which consists of a road with highly decorated ancient Roman mausoleums on each side, leading up to the grave of St. Peter, which is directly under the Baldacchino in St. Peter's Basilica. If you're interested in taking this tour, or even if you're not, you should read these superb descriptions. You'll have the various stages of the alleged grave of St. Peter explained to you, as it was created in ancient times after his execution in Nero's Circus, as it was memorialized by Constantine the Great with his original Basilica of St. Peter, and as it was preserved when the current Basilica of St. Peter was built. Whether you believe that this is the actual grave of St. Peter or not, this tour is well worth your money and your time, since it shows you sights you cannot otherwise see, with a tourguide who will explain it all in your native language (although from a Roman Catholic point of view). I highly recommend this tour, since it's probably the best underground tour in Rome for the price, and you indeed get to see some pretty spectacular ancient Roman sites, though for me, the grave of St. Peter was not very convincing. The 1st photo below is something you can see before the tour begins, which is not accessible to the unwashed masses, and the 2nd photo below is something you can see after the tour ends. Photos during the tour are prohibited since they might disrupt the tour or perhaps lessen the arguments that the Roman Catholic Church is attempting to promote. Regardless of my skepticism toward the church, this is a tour you should probably reserve if you're going to be in Rome more than just a few days, or if you're going to Rome mainly to see the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica.