Vatican Underground Tours | Vatican Necropolis Tours & Tickets

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What is Vatican Necropolis?

The Vatican Necropolis is located beneath the Vatican City, between 5 and 12 meters below St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican Necropolis was formerly a burial cemetery adjacent to the Circus of Caligula on the southern slope of the Vatican Hill. It was illegal to bury the dead within the city walls, according to Roman law. As a result, burial places arose along the roadsides outside the city cemeteries. If you are in the Vatican you would be remiss if you didn't go on a tour of the Necropolis. Here is all you need to know about going on a Vatican Necropolis tour!

Why Take an Underground Tour of the Vatican Necropolis?

Vatican Necropolis

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What Lies Under the Vatican City?

Beneath the Vatican City, or more accurately under St. Peter's Basilica, you will find the Vatican Necropolis. The site was discovered during the early years of the pontificate of Pius XII Pacelli (1939-1958), who undertook a series of archaeological explorations in the area of ​​the Vatican Confession and in the center of the Sacred Caves.

Upon entering the Scavi, or Vatican Necropolis, visitors are led down three levels to a 1st century AD Pagan burial ground with a few small clay and stone repositories, followed by the 5th century Pagan and Christian combined burial ground with several medium-sized stone mausolea and other ruins, including a fractured piece of a large triumphal arch. These two levels, and the eras during which they would have been employed, roughly account for about 90% of the Roman Empire's duration. Between these levels is a small earthen mound with a hole carved out of it, which is illuminated and lightly fenced off, and which houses what are supposed to be St. Peter's bones.

The papal grotto is included within this labyrinth, as is a 12th-century early Christian church with grates in the roof that go up into the basilica's floor.

Plan Your Vatican Necropolis Tour

Tips & Rules
Vatican Necropolis Tour Timings
Vatican Necropolis Tour Location
Vatican Necropolis Tour Rules & Tips
  • Book your tickets early as the Necropolis allows only a maximum of 250 visitors per day.
  • Choose a guided tour so you can learn all about the Vatican Necropolis while you explore it.
  • Access is granted only to those who are 15 years and above.  
  • Follow the appropriate dress code so that you will not be denied entry.
  • Luggage, suitcases, bags, packages, and containers must be left in the cloakroom.
  • Reach the meeting point at least 10 minutes before the visit.

St. Peter’s Tomb

Vatican Necropolis Tours, St Peter's Grave

All Your Questions About Vatican Necropolis Tours Answered

Q. Can you tour the Vatican Necropolis?

A. Yes, you can visit the Vatican Necropolis. You can book you Vatican Necropolis tours online.

Q. How do I purchase tickets to the Vatican Necropolis tours?

A. You can purchase Vatican Necropolis tour tickets online.

Q. Does my Vatican Necropolis tour include a guided tour?

A. Yes, the Scavi institution provides a licensed guide to accompany visitors on their Necropolis tours.   

Q. What are the timings of Vatican Necropolis tours?

A. The Vatican Necropolis is open between 9 AM and 6 PM from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

Q. How long is the Vatican Necropolis Tour?

A. A tour of just the Vatican Necropolis takes about 1 - 2 hours.

Q. Where is St. Peter’s Tomb?

A. St. Peter’s Tomb is located just below St. Peter’s Basilica, with the Vatican Necropolis.

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