Necropolis of Via Triumphalis Tour: Facts & Pictures

Located underground the Vatican City, the Necropolis of Via Triumphalis, an ancient road located between the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo, has open to public in 2013.
The Necropolis of Via Triumphalis must not be confused with the Vatican Necropolis Under St. Peter’s Basilica (or St. Peter’s Scavi) which you can read about in our related post.
Discovered by chance in 2003 during excavation works to build a new parking lot, the Necropolis of Via Triumphalis has unveiled priceless evidence about the Ancient Rome, offering to visitors a suggestive itinerary in Rome’s undergrounds, accessible through the Vatican Museums!

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder
Location: in the Vatican City Area
Tickets: Needed / For details visit Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis in the Vatican
Accessibility: Not Accessible
Kid-friendly Attraction

What to expect from the Tour of Necropolis of Via Triumphalis

The itinerary to reach the Necropolis of Via Triumphalis is simply exciting! It all starts from an area within the Vatican Museums and continues through the Vatican City with an official Vatican Tour Guide.

Indeed, visitors have the chance to actually walk down the streets of the Vatican City, which is not easy to access if you are not a citizen. So, if you have been curious about how the Vatican City looks like, this is your chance!

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Moreover, you will pass by some areas of the Vatican Gardens, such as the “Galea Fountain” and have the opportunity so see from the bottom the famous Bramante Staircase.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Meaning of Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis

The Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis is particularly interesting because it provides archaeologists and historians with lots of information not only about burial rituals, but also about the life in Ancient Rome.

It can be described as a communal or shared cemetery. People from the poor and middle classes of the Roman society who could not afford to build a tomb for themselves, put their budgets together for this cemetery. In the niches you can see several urns, revealing the use of cremation.

From the decoration archaeologists discovered that the people buried in this cemetery were not all from Rome. Some of them were artisans and slaves probably coming from Egypt, as the red snakes paintings found on one of the walls suggest.

Underground the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis

Ok, now let’s take a look of what’s actually underground!

In this labyrinth of queries there are two important evidence:

1) the skeleton of a little child buried with an egg, a symbol of a good auspice and rebirth.

2) the tomb of Alcimo, the scenographer of Pompey’s Theater, the biggest theater in Rome and the place where Julius Caesar was murdered. Alcimo is depicted holding the working tools he used for the set designs.

The Necropolis also reveals how the burial rituals of the ancient Romans changed over the centuries. Other than the urns, you can spot several sarcophagi dating back to the end of 2nd century. By that time the cremation was abandoned and replaced by the burial ritual.

Remains of the dead were placed in beautiful marble sarcophagi decorated with scenes representig the dead’s life. Thus, we can say that each sarcophagus is kind of an ID card, giving us information about the person buried inside.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Visiting the Necropolis

The Necropolis of Via Triumphalis, which extends in the underground of the Vatican State, can be accessed only through a guided tour led by an official guide of the Vatican Museums.

Guided tours are offered to visitors who want to explore this subterranean world through the online official ticket office of the Vatican Museum.
The visit lasts 90 minutes. Full price ticket for the Tour of Necropolis of Via Triumphalis is 26€, while reduced ticket is 20€. This is a shared tour, available in multiple languages.

At the end of the visit of the Necropolis, you can also access the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on your own with no additional fees and no waiting in line. Visit Necropolis of Via Triumphalis in the Vatican for further information and booking