The Vatican Necropolis
Underneath the world's most famous basilica sits the Vatican Necropolis. Several floors beneath the altar of Saint Peter's lies a web of catacombs and the tomb of Christianity's first leader after Christ — Saint Peter. One of the more difficult locations to visit in Rome, an essential (though inexpensive) reservation must be made with the Ufficio Scavi through their website in order to guarantee access to this underground maze. With tickets acquired, a tourist to the Vatican Necropolis will enter the exhibit via a side entrance on the south side of Saint Peter's, rather than the normal direct entrance towards the upper levels of the basilica. The first and lowest level to which visitors are led features an old Roman cemetery — which would at one time have been above ground. Fittingly resembling an underground city, the crumbled designs echo a time long past. As the tourist is sent further, they will eventually reach the tomb of the Apostle Peter. Lost to antiquity, until the recent excavations during the 20th century it was unknown whether Peter's body was really beneath Saint Peter's Basilica. However, excavations revealed the bones of Saint Peter — and remnants of Peter's corpse can be viewed by the public on a visit to this underground labyrinth. Visitors are told not to photograph, their visit — which can add to the unique experience underneath the basilica. For those who can reserve their tickets in advance, a trip into the Necropolis is well worth the visit.