Book Series Ancient History & Archaeology (Outside a Series)

The Vatican Necropoles

Rome's City of the Dead

P. Liverani, G. Spinola, P. Zander

  • Pages: 352 p.
  • Size:240 x 310 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53578-4
  • Hardback
  • Available


"Il s'agit d'un très bel ouvrage qu'on ne se lasse pas de feuilleter, et dont on retiendra plus particulièrement la richesse du propos et la qualité des photographies en pleine page, ainsi que le souci de donner un aperçu aussi bien de la diversité du décor ornemental que du mobilier mis au jour. P. Liverani et G. Spinola nous offrent là une synthèse éclairante et passionnante sur cet exceptionnel ensemble funéraire."    (Alexandre Dardenay, dans Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.10.13)

"It is beautifully produced with a wealth of ancient tombs, both pagan and Christian, illustrated in their full glory, mostly in colour, to include wall paintings, mosaics and sarcophagi. (...) This will be the first port of call for anyone interested in the fascinating world beneath the papal basilica." (Jas Elsner, in The Burlington Magazine, July 2012, p. 493)

"(…) the extensive and nearly error-free text, plus the many extraordinary views of the numerous fabulous tombs within the area of Vatican City, provide us with an impressive volume. With each of these pages measuring 24 x 33 cm, the many two-page spreads provide spectacular panoramic views nearly half a meter wide." (Marhsall Joseph Becker, in: American Journal of Archaeology, April 2013 (117.2),

 "This book is the most updated synthesis of the funerary discoveries from the Vatican Hill. (...) Even though it is based on extensive scholarly research, it is a general public-friendly book, being also suitable for specialists less familiar with the period." (Alexandra Ion -University of Bucharest in: Biblical and Early Christian Studies 2013.02.01,





This is the first published summary of the entire complex of the great necropoles of Rome, which were situated on Vatican Hill.

The work concerns one of the most extensive, richest, and least-known Roman archaeological phenomena and bears witness to the work of creating an underground museum that has been followed internationally as a model of conservation practice. From the submerged world of the necropoles emerges the funeral ‘normality’ of the Roman world, from poorer cremations in wooden urns, to sumptuous sarcophagi, to sepulchres adorned with frescoes and mosaics. One can also observe Egyptian cults influencing the practice of epicurean philosophy. In addition, we can catch a glimpse of the first traces of Christianity, which include the presence of St. Peter the Apostle’s tomb.

Si tratta della prima pubblicazione di sintesi sull'intero complesso delle grandi Necropoli di Roma che erano site nel colle Vaticano.
L'opera riguarda una delle più vaste, ricche e meno conosciute realtà archeologiche Romane e testimonia un lavoro di musealizzazione sotterranea preso a modello internazionalmente per le tecniche di conservazione. Dal mondo sommerso delle necropoli emerge la funeraria "normalità" del mondo romano, dalle incinerazioni più povere in urne di legno, ai sarcofagi fastosi, fino ai sepolcri affrescati e mosaicati e si possono osservare i culti egizi mescolarsi alla professione della filosofia epicurea mentre, accanto ad esse, si intravedono le prime tracce di cristianesimo, compresa la presenza della tomba dell’apostolo Pietro.