Gabrielle Smarr Summer 2012 Temple Rome

Don’t get lost..we found a skeleton with a pair of Ray-Bans once.

Each week we visit different places with our design class and then make a spread for a book from what we gather at the location. I’ve said this before, so forgive me for the repetition..not everyone follows as loyally as you do. We visited a place called the catacombs of Saint Sebastion. This was probably my favorite thing that we visited in the class. It was a very interesting place. You weren’t technically supposed to take pictures in it..but sometimes my camera just slips. Gets a little too eager and can’t wait.

You enter the catacombs through a courtyard area and go into a room that has the ticket booth. Our class gathered..all 15 of us..and attempted to scrounge our money together to pay with exact change. In the ticket booth area there are artifacts all around that you can walk through and look at while you’re waiting for your tour group to build up to a large enough number that you can start your tour. I couldn’t help but notice our professor leaning over one of the ropes with his book laying next to him, counting everyones’ money, trying to figure out what was missing. He was just going about his business…didn’t even realize that he was using a sarcophagus as a table top. This was a funny thing to me. I don’t think he ever did realize what he was doing. Sometimes I think he lives in a make believe world in his head. He’s got loads of good stories and spouts out a lot of good quotes. He is a funny guy with limitless amounts of energy.
Finally we met up with our tour guide. He was a smaller Italian man with an interesting accent. Lots of information in his big brain. I wonder how many languages he could speak. He seemed to really love talking about the catacombs. He had an easy way about him. He took us down into the catacomb tunnels finally and it was not exactly what I expected. The temperature immediately dropped and everything was pretty dark. He told us that we had to stick together. There are seven miles of tunnels, so we should try not to get lost…they may never find us. After this, he told us that they found a skeleton with a pair of Ray-Bans on. He got a chuckle with that one. As we got further into the tunnels, it was funny how scared people were. It was like walking through a haunted house waiting for the next rubber mask to jump out at you. I kept waiting to see something coming at me from the end of the dark tunnels.


It’s amazing that people could get around down there. No lights, only torches. No maps or GPS..I would be a goner. There were ceilings in some of the tombs that were very decorative while others seemed to just be holes in the ground. It was sad seeing small ones knowing that it was most likely for children. Families were usually buried together. It was a thing that men did for their families. This was also the place where Peter and Paul’s bodies were said to have been buried. In a cave part of the tunnels there is a wall that is preserved with 600 graffitied messages to Peter and Paul on it. It was a neat thing to see.

Above the catacombs is a church of Saint Sebastion. It was a weird church with a lot of cheesy images and statues. Something that looked like it came out of a 70s living room.

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