They're not secret anymore! The ancient Jewish catacombs in Rome that have been off limits for decades will finally open to the public

  • The Jewish catacombs open to the general public for the first time on Sunday
  • Previously only private tours could visit the tunnels beneath a Rome vineyard
  • Discovered in 1918, the ancient catacombs date back to the second century

The Jewish catacombs in Rome are set to open to the general public for the first time this weekend, offering visitors a chance to explore the ancient underground tunnels and artwork.

In a bid to highlight the diversity of Italy's cultural attractions, the ancient Jewish burial site at Vigna Randanini, will no longer be off-limits.

The well-known Christian catacombs of Rome, of which there are 40, attract thousands of visitors every year, whereas up until now only private parties have been permitted to explore the second century Jewish burial site.

Situated underneath a vineyard,  the Jewish burial site at Vigna Randanini, will open to the general public for the first time tomorrow (Sunday)

Situated underneath a vineyard,  the Jewish burial site at Vigna Randanini, will open to the general public for the first time tomorrow (Sunday)

The Jewish catacombs were discovered in 1918, and archaeological excavations continued for 12 years

The Jewish catacombs were discovered in 1918, and archaeological excavations continued for 12 years

Dating back to the period between the second and third centuries they are thought to have remained in use until the fifth century

Dating back to the period between the second and third centuries they are thought to have remained in use until the fifth century

Rome officials have made the move in the year Pope Francis celebrates the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Rome officials have made the move in the year Pope Francis celebrates the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Situated underneath a vineyard, the catacombs will open to the public from tomorrow (Sunday, May 1) until June 5.

Giorgia Calo, cultural councillor for the Jewish Community of Rome is delighted with the opening, and said that they 'have always been a part of the history of the capital.'

Speaking to The Catholic Register, Calo said: 'We have tried to create a suitable itinerary to help people understand how much the Jewish people have been part of Rome.'

The passageways and chambers were discovered in 1918, and archaeological excavations continued for 12 years.

In a bid to highlight the diverse cultural sites throughout Italy, the Jewish burial site at Vigna Randanini, will no longer be off-limits to locals and visitors

In a bid to highlight the diverse cultural sites throughout Italy, the Jewish burial site at Vigna Randanini, will no longer be off-limits to locals and visitors

The underground tunnels extend for more than 140,000sq-ft and date back to the second and third centuries

The underground tunnels extend for more than 140,000sq-ft and date back to the second and third centuries

There are six Jewish Catacombs in total that lie outside the walls that once encircled ancient Rome

There are six Jewish Catacombs in total that lie outside the walls that once encircled ancient Rome

Visitors will see relics and beautiful architecture which formed the ancient passageways and chambers

Visitors will see relics and beautiful architecture which formed the ancient passageways and chambers

Tourists will have the chance to see artwork and inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin

Tourists will have the chance to see artwork and inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin

There are six catacombs in total that lie outside the walls that once encircled ancient Rome. 

They extend for more than 140,000 sq ft and date back to the period between the second and third centuries, and possibly remained in use until the fifth century.

The site at Vigna Randanini is a maze of tunnels, and visitors will see inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Latin that tell the story of the families that were buried there. 

Giorgia Calo, cultural councillor for the Jewish Community of Rome is delighted with the opening and said they 'have always been a part of the history of the capital'

Giorgia Calo, cultural councillor for the Jewish Community of Rome is delighted with the opening and said they 'have always been a part of the history of the capital'

Calo said: 'We have tried to create a suitable itinerary to help people understand how much the Jewish people have been part of Rome.' 

Calo said: 'We have tried to create a suitable itinerary to help people understand how much the Jewish people have been part of Rome.' 

The site at Vigna Randanini is a maze of tunnels and in the past could only be seen by private parties or small groups with permission

The site at Vigna Randanini is a maze of tunnels and in the past could only be seen by private parties or small groups with permission

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