Vatican Necropolis

Vatican Underground Tours | Vatican Necropolis Tours & Tickets

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!

Book Vatican Necropolis Guided Tours and Tickets

St. Peter’s Basilica Dome: Guided Tour

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Vatican Necropolis Tours Explained

Vatican Necropolis Tours
  • Make your way to the top of Michelangelo's dome. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Castelli Romani hills, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and the Vatican.
  • Explore St Peter's Basilica, and make your way to the Papal Tombs hidden beneath the grounds of Vatican City.
  • Have an expert guide (English, Spanish, French, or Italian) who will fill you in with interesting details and tidbits about the Basilica accompany you.
  • Super-Flexible Cancellation Policy: You can cancel up to 24 hours before the day of the tour for a full refund.
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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.

Why Take an Underground Tour of the Vatican Necropolis?

Vatican Necropolis

Taking a Vatican Necropolis tour is an enlightening experience. You can explore the detailed network of mausoleums and tombs that lie directly beneath St. Peter’s Basilica. What makes the Necropolis is a must-visit is simply the fact that there is no area in the Vatican City that is more important than the supposed ultimate resting place of St Peter. A Vatican necropolis tour is definitely worth the money, even if it is not as well-known as the museums, Basilica, or Sistine Chapel.

Each day, just 250 people are allowed to enter, in groups of 12. This is done is to protect the ancient site from being destroyed by mass tourism., making this a truly unique experience.

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Plan Your Vatican Necropolis Tour

Timings
Location
Tips & Rules
Vatican Necropolis Tour Timings

Vatican Necropolis is open from Mondays to Fridays from  9 AM to 6 PM.
On Saturdays, the Necropolis is open from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Last Entry: 3:30 PM (From April to September, 4.15 PM)

Closed: All Sundays and Vatican Holidays.

St. Peter's Basilica Timings
Vatican Necropolis Tour Location

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

  • Metro: Take Line A to Ottaviano-S. Pietro station.
  • Train: Take the train from Roma Termini to the St Pietro train station.
  • Bus: Bus numbers 40, 64, 62, and 81 will take you to the Vatican.
Getting There
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

According to ancient tradition, Apostle Peter was martyred in the year 64 or 67, during the reign of Emperor Nero, at the Circus of Nero. . It is, hence, believed that Peter was buried in the necropolis since it was close to the sight of his martyrdom.

Within the Necropolis that comprises multiple graves and Papal tombs is a small area named with the letter P that is believed to be the original burial site of the apostle. About a hundred years after the death of Peter, a shrine was constructed over his grave. The shrine is located adjacent to the Red Wall of the necropolis.

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 here.

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.