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On the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul

Places visited

  • St. Paul Outside the Walls
  • Abbey of the Three Fountains
  • Catacombs of St. Sebastian
  • Ancient Appian Way

Add-ons: Mamertine Prison, church of Santa Prisca

Duration: 6 hours, 8 hours with add-ons

Difficulty: 1/3

Accessibility: the Catacombs and the Mamertine Prison are not wheelchair accessible; for wheelchair users, please contact me and I can advise a shortened version of the itinerary

Focus: Art, History, Religion

Price: starting at € 780,00

Rome became the heart of Christianity early on, since it’s where the Apostles Peter and Paul got martyred and the place where their tombs are venerated.

On this tour, we’ll follow the trails of the Apostle Paul from the time he arrived in Rome traveling along the Appian Way, to where his fellow Christian friends Prisca and Aquila lived, to the spot where Paul got beheaded, to his tomb.

Paul’s journey to Rome after his arrest in Jerusalem was quite adventurous: he even got shipwrecked, but eventually made it to Pozzuoli, a port south of Rome, and traveled the last leg by land, following the Appian Way, the so-called Queen of Roads, which connected the south of the Roman Empire to the capital. Stretches of the original paving stones can still be seen, so we’ll be walking on the very same road Paul traveled along.

This area of the city is also where several catacombs are located, so we’ll grab the opportunity to visit the oldest of these early Christian cemeteries, the Catacomb of St.  Sebastian, where the relics of the Apostles Peter and Paul were venerated for a couple of centuries, having been moved here during the persecution at the time of the Emperor Valerian. Lots of graffiti on the walls, with prayers addressed to the Apostles, bear testimony to the time when this spot was known as the “Memoria Apostolorum”.

We’ll now move to the Abbey of the Three Fountains, the place Paul was taken to on June 29th 67 to be put to death. Tradition has it that his head hit the ground three times, and three springs appeared; in the middle-ages, the benedictine abbey was built. The area comprises three churches, as well as a section of the original Roman road on which Paul moved his last steps.

After the beheading, the Apostle was buried in a small cemetery located along the Via Ostiense, one of the Roman roads. On this spot, the basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls originated in the 4th century. It is located on the outskirts of the city centre, beyond the ancient Roman city walls (hence the name!). It’s the second largest church in town after St. Peter’s, and a very important place of pilgrimage, having been built on the tomb of the Apostle Paul. Actually, the church was severely damaged by a fire in 1823, and what you see today is the result of a careful restoration. It’s every bit as impressive as St. Peter’s, and the big plus is that there are way less visitors here, so you can really enjoy the beauty of this serene, majestic building.

The Church of Santa Prisca, located on the slope of the Aventine Hill, is little known, but takes us back to the time when Paul reached Rome and met his friends from his Corinthian days, Aquila and Prisca (or Priscilla, as she was sometimes called), a couple of tent-makers who were among the first to convert to Christianity and to follow Paul’s teaching. It is a small, unassuming church, that gives us a far better idea of what a place of worship would be in early Christian times than the opulence of many baroque churches in the city.

Another place of interest is the Mamertine Prison, the place inmates were kept who had been condemned to death, waiting for their execution. Traditionally, both Peter and Paul spent some time here prior to their martyrdom, converting some of the prison guards to Christianity. The prison is placed at the foot of Capitol Hill, overlooking the Roman Forum, and is now located underneath a church built at a later time. It’s still possible to see the cell dating back to the 1st century where Paul was kept.

Please note that there might be security checks to enter the Basilica of Saint Paul, and this may involve a certain amount of waiting in line that can’t be avoided. No pocket-knives, scissors, glass bottles, tripods, professional video equipment, large backpacks or trolleys allowed inside.

Be aware of the modest dress code! For both men and women shoulders/midriffs and knees must be covered. If you want to be comfortable in the hot Italian summer, it’s a good idea to bring a shawl to wrap around you if you are wearing shorts and/or sleeveless.

It is important that you are aware that all churches in Rome are still primarily a place of worship, not a museum; so it won’t be possible to visit a church if there’s any special lithurgy taking place (for example on religious festivities, or during funerals). Churches can close to visitors without notice. In this case, it’s not possible to ask for any kind of refund, since it is something beyond my company’s control. If a church happens to be closed for tours for whatever reason, we will adapt the itinerary accordingly and visit some other place of interest.

Duration of tour

1-2 people (limo)

3-6 people (van)

Up to 6 hours

780,00 EUR

900,00 EUR

+ each additional hour

130,00 EUR

150,00 EUR

For larger groups, I’ll be happy to send you a quote.

  • The tour rate includes your private guided tour + private driver – price is total, not per person. Pick up will be at your accomodation, provided it is in the city centre.
  • Entrance tickets, meals, snacks and gratuities not included in above rates. Headsets are not included (only needed with 6+ people).
  • Entrance tickets to the Catacombs are not included and have to be purchased on site (cash or credit card); at the time of writing, they are 10,00 EUR per person. Children under 18 get a reduced ticket (7,00 EUR). Updated entry fees will be listed in the detailed trip summary you’ll get upon sending a request/booking.
  • Please note that we reserve the right to vary the prices shown on this website at any time before you book (during Bank Holidays, National Holidays, Christmas Holidays, Easter Holidays, or last minute bookings).

You will be advised of the current price at the time of booking. Once you have booked we will not increase your tour price other than for changes in VAT or any other Venues or Government imposed levy.

Cancellation Policy & Refunds