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My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

Going Down Under…….

No, Not Australia. Underground in Rome, in search of the Catacombs. I know, I know your first thought is probably the same as mine, Gross, then disrespectful. Catacombs are a very important part of Christianity. Well what I wanted to share with you specifically is one particular Catacomb in Rome. Now before you correct me, yes it is in Rome.

A short history…..

There are more than 40 Catacombs around Rome. In ancient Roman times, no one was allowed to be buried within the city limits. Although some Roman’s preferred to be cremated, Christians preferred to be buried, they believed they could be resurrected when the time came. But land was expensive in Ancient Rome and most Christians were poor. A few wealthy, landowning Christians allowed their land to be used for Burial Places. There are about 5 Catacombs actually within the City limits of Rome, not all of these are accessible. Between the 1st and 5th Centuries, Christians dug an estimated 400 miles of tomb-lined tunnels, with many being 5-7 layers deep. Bodies were wrapped in Linen (like Christ’s), since they figured the second coming was imminent, there was no interest in embalming the body.

If you don’t already know, the way a Catacomb is dug it’s one layer at a time, but they don’t start at the bottom, working their way up, they start from the first layer and bury the dead, when that layer is full, they begin to dig the second layer, under the first layer and they continue this until they have dug as deep as they can. So in fact the deeper you go, the “younger” the dead.

We were recently in Rome and decided to visit a Catacomb, this was not our first visit to a Catacomb, we toured a very cool catacomb in Lima, Peru, more on that one at a later date. Like I said, there are more than 40 catacombs around Rome, so the question was which one? The most often visited Catacomb around Rome is, Catacombs of San Callisto, this is the official cemetery for the Christians of Rome and burial place of the 3rd century Popes, 9 to be exact. We opted to find one closer to us and not the busiest one. We stumbled upon The Catacombs of Priscilla.

The Catacombs of Priscilla is one of the 5 located within the city limits and one of the oldest and largest in Rome. Built in the early 2nd century and is one of the best preserved cemeteries in Rome. The name Priscilla originates from the Mother of a Senator, the family Achilis, in whose house Saint Peter was said to have found refuge. Close to the modern entrance to the Catacomb of Priscilla, which is located on the Via Salaria in Rome is a subterranean chapel. This Basilica was known as the Capella Greca, since two Greek epitaphs were inscribed there. It contains extremely ancient symbolic frescoes, the most famous of this being the so-called Fractio Panis. In this wall-painting a priest is breaking bread and handing to the other people sitting at the table. One of the first known painting of The Madonna is in this Catacomb.

I have to tell you this was an amazing tour. We walked to the Chapel, and frankly we walked right past it, and we were looking for it. It is right on the road way, but not marked for easy finding, this is a working chapel and a service was taking place when we arrived. While The Catacombs of San Callisto is the largest and most visited, this must be the least visited, which was perfect for me. We had a tour from a wonderful lady and the tour consisted of only 4 of us. The Catacombs of Priscilla is 7 layers deep and has tunnels more than 13 Kilometers long. What is fascinating is how well preserved it is. Many of the tombs are still in tact. If your not aware, the dead are buried in the walls, in niches if you will, stacked vertically. Only the exact amount of space is dug out of the wall to fit the person, they are entombed, the opening is covered with slate or terracotta in, then a marker is put in place to mark who is in that grave. They typically bury 4-6 people high before they begin to dig the next level down. According to the tour guide, there are over 40,000 tombs, including tombs for seven popes have been found.

What I found really interesting is the references to Greece and Greeks in general.  During that time, the Greeks were the most wealthy, so they were able to afford being buried with Popes, Saints and Martyrs. During the Greco-Gothic wars, these Catacombs feel into disrepair and may of the Saints and Martyrs were stolen and moved to other churches. These Catacombs are so well preserved, and filled with amazing religious history, I highly recommend visiting The Catacombs of Priscilla.

As a Catholic I felt a little uneasy beginning this tour, it felt disrespectful to me. The more I learned I realized that this is part of the Worlds Religious History and we must learn from it and that the bodies of these 40,000 people are there to ensure we learn.

I hope you will visit this amazing, historical place, it is well worth the time and effort.

Address: Via Salaria, 430 00199 Rome, Italy

Quarter: Trieste

Website: http://www.catacombepriscilla.com/pagine-eng/regina.htm

Happy Travels

http://www.travelwithscott.com

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One Comment on “Going Down Under…….”

  1. Angeline August 10, 2014 at 1:38 am #

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