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NECROPOLIS OF THE VIA TRIUMPHALIS

all year round

Musei Vaticani – viale Vaticano. Tour days: subject to availability/Vatican calendar. Languages available: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish. Full price ticket € 32, reduced price ticket € 24

Tel. 06 69883145  |  www.museivaticani.va   

A three hours guided tour through the wonders of the Gardens and the histories of the burial ground beneath the Vatican Hill. Along the route visitors will have the rare opportunity to admire the Fountain of the “Galera”. The ticket price also includes the possibility of an open visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (without a guide and limited to the day the ticket is issued).

NECROPOLIS OF THE VIA TRIUMPHALIS

This archaeological area is an outstanding example of an ancient Roman burial ground. The word “necropolis”, from the Greek necròs (dead) and pòlis (city), denotes a “city of the dead”. Since Roman law forbade the cremation and burial of the dead within the city for safety and hygiene reasons, cemeteries were located along the roads outside the urban area. The passing of travellers nurtured the memory of the dead, but it was above all the activity of the living that was clearly present in the ancient cemeteries: through particular practices and funerary rites the ancient Romans maintained a link with their departed loved ones and established contact with the Hereafter. All these activities are especially well documented in the necropolis that extends along the stretch of the Via Triumphalis .

From the side of this road, which borders the Vatican Hill, the tombs are distributed along the slopes on a number of terraces. The landscape was characterised by a great variety of tombs, collective and individual, arranged along paths and in squares, often used for ceremonies linked to the cult of the dead. It is a unique archaeological site in terms of the excellent state of conservation of the items unearthed, and of great interest for deepening knowledge of pagan funerary practices. In many cases inscribed funerary stelae have been found, clarifying the identity of the deceased and their individual stories, often relating to members of the middle and lower echelons of imperial Roman society.

The tour of the Vatican Gardens and the Necropolis is conducted by an educational guide authorised by Vatican City State.

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