Vatican Necropolis
Vatican Necropolis
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksCemeteriesReligious Sites
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
When Pius XII ordered a thorough excavation of the area under the High Altar in St. Peter's Basilica, twisting stone passages were found leading to an ancient Roman necropolis, which contained chambers 10- to 15-feet wide with preserved frescoes and mosaics.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Esquilino
Old school vibe from the very beginning is the only way to describe the Esquilino neighbourhood. The Esquilino takes pride in being one of the oldest areas in Rome for its key location on one of the city’s famous seven hills. From an ancient neighbourhood to its modern incarnation as a multicultural hub, Esquilino always has something going on—polyglot vendors debate street artists while kids play pick-up basketball games. Look around you: this area isn’t like the historic centre. Liberty architecture, large piazzas, and long boulevards mix with archaic arches, secret side alleys, and beautiful churches like Santa Maria Maggiore.
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • wendygtf
    Newnan, Georgia3 contributions
    Best experience AND skip the line at the Vatican
    You will NEVER regret choosing this tour. I have been 3 times now and it gets better every time. You see the layers of the church on your way. Biggest benefit - it spits you out at the line to get tickets to the dome and then directly into the church skipping the long security line out front that can be up to three hours itself. They have a separate entrance and security area and you are the only people using it. I highly recommend this as a way to tour the church.
    Visited December 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 31 December 2022
  • Carol O
    Saint Charles, Missouri33 contributions
    Amazing experience
    I'm stunned that I was able to get into this Scavi tour--very limited in number allowed into this holy space. This tour was the highlight of my entire 8-day visit in Rome. I can't stop thinking about it.
    Visited November 2022
    Written 27 January 2023
  • RobinDav
    Texas Gulf Coast, Texas193 contributions
    AMAZING Tour !
    This was an amazing tour ! Book on the website as soon as you know your dates that you will be in Rome . Email them at scavi@fsp.va They will want your # of participants and names also language and dates you are available . Don’t forget to also include your email. They responded to me very quickly with date and how to pay . I was so excited ! This guided tour starts underground showing you some amazing sites , then brings you to the next level where you can view some of the popes tombs and then you can start your visit to St Peters Basilica from there without waiting in line . Makes for an amazing day ! If I may suggest afterwards, a visit to Castle Sant Angelo for some amazing views . It’s about a 10 minute walk from St Peters Basilica.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 13 March 2023
  • Atravelfan
    256 contributions
    Vatican Necropolos tour - Definitely Worth Visiting
    HIghly recommend this tour. We booked well in advance directly with the Scavi Vatican site. This small group tour ( ~12) is led by a Vatican guide and was so interesting. Our guide shared so much of the history of the necropolis. The excavation is amazing. The tour lasted about 90 minutes. No photos allowed to be taken in the necropolis so cant show you what we saw but it was so worth the effort. The passageways are not tight but it is very humid in there so be prepared for that ( they keep the humidity high purposefully for preservation of the structures). As mentioned in other reviews, at the conclusion of the tour, you are at St Peter's basillica and bypass the long lines outside. You also are able, with your Scavi tickets, to purchase reduced rate tickets for the cupola lift
    Visited June 2023
    Written 14 July 2023
  • LostLittleGirlx
    Wexford, Ireland203 contributions
    Book this well in advance with the Scavi office directly
    I have been here twice and both times it was my favourite tour in the Vatican. You must book this well in advance ( a few months) and book it directly with the Vatican Scavi office, its only €13 and great value. Tours limited to about 12 or 15 people. You see the 3rd layer down, under the popes tombs layer. It is where the excavations went down to the beginning and St. Peter's tomb was discovered. Highly recommended!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 16 July 2023
  • axtra l
    Tel Aviv, Israel8 contributions
    Although this is a must-see, reservations must be made months in advance.
    The necropolis beneath St. Peter's was only discovered in 1940, excavated, and accessible to 300 visitors daily until the 1970s. Numerous Romans are buried there, but St. Peter, the first Pope, is the most significant. Amazing how they discovered St. Peter's tomb and remains! Make reservations well in advance of your trip.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled on business
    Written 29 August 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
883 reviews
Excellent
686
Very good
141
Average
43
Poor
7
Terrible
6

axtra l
Tel Aviv, Israel8 contributions
Jul 2023 • Business
The necropolis beneath St. Peter's was only discovered in 1940, excavated, and accessible to 300 visitors daily until the 1970s. Numerous Romans are buried there, but St. Peter, the first Pope, is the most significant. Amazing how they discovered St. Peter's tomb and remains! Make reservations well in advance of your trip.
Written 30 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LostLittleGirlx
Wexford, Ireland203 contributions
Jun 2023 • Family
I have been here twice and both times it was my favourite tour in the Vatican. You must book this well in advance ( a few months) and book it directly with the Vatican Scavi office, its only €13 and great value. Tours limited to about 12 or 15 people. You see the 3rd layer down, under the popes tombs layer. It is where the excavations went down to the beginning and St. Peter's tomb was discovered. Highly recommended!
Written 16 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Atravelfan
Atlanta256 contributions
Jun 2023
HIghly recommend this tour. We booked well in advance directly with the Scavi Vatican site.
This small group tour ( ~12) is led by a Vatican guide and was so interesting. Our guide shared so much of the history of the necropolis. The excavation is amazing. The tour lasted about 90 minutes. No photos allowed to be taken in the necropolis so cant show you what we saw but it was so worth the effort. The passageways are not tight but it is very humid in there so be prepared for that ( they keep the humidity high purposefully for preservation of the structures).
As mentioned in other reviews, at the conclusion of the tour, you are at St Peter's basillica and bypass the long lines outside. You also are able, with your Scavi tickets, to purchase reduced rate tickets for the cupola lift
Written 14 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah G
7 contributions
May 2023 • Couples
Thank you TripAdvisor Forum writers for making me aware of this tour! We emailed the Vatican for tickets six months in advance, and promptly received tickets for the English tour on the preferred day. It was a little hard to find the entrance-- we had to ask two guards-- but other than that the instructions and explanations in advance were perfect. I was a little worried about getting claustrophobic but thanks to the advance information it never happened-- I was too interested in the tour! The guide was astonishing--funny, knowledgeable, and flexible with the needs of our group. The tour was amazing-- we are not Catholic but are history buffs, and there was plenty of astounding moments. Definitely a highlight of our entire trip to Rome.
Written 20 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IA_Hawks
Iowa2,357 contributions
Mar 2023 • Friends
This is not a tour you can just walk up to and go on a whim, you must email the Excavation Office the date & time you wish to go and they will let you know the best available tour for you.

When you confirm your reservation and make the payment, you must pay attention to the directions for receiving your ticket from the Excavation Office, as the Swiss Guards will not let you pass until the time of your tour. When your time is available, must pass through the metal detectors on the way to your meeting point.

This is a great tour to learn how the city and St. Peter's Basilica was built one layer on top of the other, especially the alters of the Basilica.

This is not a tour if you are in a wheelchair or have difficulty walking, as the the passages are narrow during the tour.
Written 25 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RobinDav
Texas Gulf Coast, TX193 contributions
Feb 2023 • Solo
This was an amazing tour ! Book on the website as soon as you know your dates that you will be in Rome . Email them at scavi@fsp.va They will want your # of participants and names also language and dates you are available . Don’t forget to also include your email. They responded to me very quickly with date and how to pay . I was so excited ! This guided tour starts underground showing you some amazing sites , then brings you to the next level where you can view some of the popes tombs and then you can start your visit to St Peters Basilica from there without waiting in line . Makes for an amazing day ! If I may suggest afterwards, a visit to Castle Sant Angelo for some amazing views . It’s about a 10 minute walk from St Peters Basilica.
Written 13 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carol O
Saint Charles, MO33 contributions
Nov 2022
I'm stunned that I was able to get into this Scavi tour--very limited in number allowed into this holy space. This tour was the highlight of my entire 8-day visit in Rome. I can't stop thinking about it.
Written 27 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wendygtf
Newnan, GA3 contributions
Dec 2022 • Family
You will NEVER regret choosing this tour. I have been 3 times now and it gets better every time. You see the layers of the church on your way. Biggest benefit - it spits you out at the line to get tickets to the dome and then directly into the church skipping the long security line out front that can be up to three hours itself. They have a separate entrance and security area and you are the only people using it. I highly recommend this as a way to tour the church.
Written 31 December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

skb8721
New Iberia, LA16 contributions
Oct 2022
An excellent tour experience!

We arranged for tickets through the Scavi Office (per its Internet address) a few weeks in advance and had no trouble getting them; and they were surprisingly inexpensive. We did have a little trouble finding the Scavi Office (if only because the Vatican is so big!), but after asking one or two security officers (who were very nice) where to find the "Scavi Office," we were directly to the correct place. (It's on the left as you face the facade of St. Peter's, but you have to go just outside the massive Bernini colonnade on the left, to a gateway watched by Swiss guards.)

From there a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide took us underground to see the necropolis, which to my suprise contained many Roman mausoleums that 2,000 years ago had stood at ground level in the open air and sunlight -- but now are, what, 20 feet under St. Peter's Basilica?

You do see the bones of St. Peter, though I myself could make out only a couple small fragments (all that remain), as well as part of the small monument built to him in ancient times (only partly excavated at present).

The tour is very much worth it! I recommend it highly. (One note: no photography is permitted, at least not on our tour, but you can find plenty of official Vatican photos of the necropolis on the Internet.)
Written 11 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jenn B
Markham, Canada61 contributions
Aug 2022
When we booked our trip to Italy, this was my first priority to book. You have to write to the Scavi office to request permission to be on the tour. Then they will email you with your permission. Very affordable. Only about 12 people in our group. Only 200 people can go through the Necropolis each day, and you get a chance to interact with the Swiss Guards to get to the Scavi office.
Our tour guide was excellent. It is dark and humid during the tour, but well worth it. You get to see 1st century walk-ways through the pagan tombs - so interesting. I would highly recommend this tour.
Written 15 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 461
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Vatican Necropolis, Vatican City - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Vatican Necropolis