The Catacombs of San Sebastian – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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The Catacombs of San Sebastian

Jesus' footprints and the first catacombs in the world. 


Known as one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, the Catacombs of San Sebastian have long attracted devout Christian pilgrims and curious visitors.

Along the first four mile stretch of Via Appia, are The Catacombs of San Sebastian. The martyred remains of San Sebastian were buried at the site in 350, and a basilica was erected over the grounds to honor the saint in the early 4th century. At the time, the subterranean burial area became known as ad catacumbas, which means “near the hollows,” due to the excavated mines near the site. This was the first use of term catacombs, and it has since signified underground Christian burials chambers.

Since the site was erected, many pilgrims have come to visit and see the relics held at the basilica as well. The basilica is dedicated to San Sebastian, who was martyred, and it houses the arrow that allegedly struck San Sebastian during his murder.

Besides the arrow relic, the basilica also possesses a set of marble footprints, that are attributed to Jesus, during his walk to Rome along the Via Appia.

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Via Appia Antica stop on the bus

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