The Vatican now makes it easier for the general public to visit the church Vatican Cemeterya Roman cemetery located a few feet below St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The more than 10,000-square-foot site contains marble sarcophagi and tombs dating between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, and Roman frescoes and mosaics.
The Vatican is expanding access to the cemetery for its eponymous exhibition Life And Death In The Rome Of The Caesars, Which opened on Friday. The Vatican Museums did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for more information.
Speaking in a video of euronewsIn the past, organized tours of the tomb were generally given only to approved groups of academics, students and other professionals, Vatican Museums Director Barbara Gatta said.
Now, a gate overlooking Piazza Risorgimento has opened along the Vatican walls, allowing any ticket buyer to explore the site freely.
“An individual visitor can come without the assistance of a guide,” Jatta said. “They could seize one of the most unique archaeological sites in the world.”
The Vatican began excavating the cemetery in the 1950s.
People who were enslaved were buried there.
“We understood from the inscriptions that some of them were imperial property, because their master [the Emperor Nero] “It is mentioned a lot,” Leonardo De Blasi, an archaeologist at the Vatican Museums, told Euronews., Adding that the graves of artisans and other lower-middle-class Roman citizens employed by Nero were also discovered at the site.
The Vatican Cemetery is located outside the center of Rome. Ancient Roman laws prohibited burial within city limits for safety and hygiene.
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