The Catacombs at Vigna Randanini in Rome, which were discovered in 1859, are one of the best examples of Jewish cemeteries.
Vigna Randini Jewish Catacombs Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Appia Antica, 119 – Rome. District: Appio Pignatelli. Phone: +39 06 6785989. Public transportation: Bus 118, 218.
History and description
Already in the 2nd century before Christ there was a Jewish community in Rome, which grew substantially during the times of the Roman Empire. They reached their maximum capacity in the 3rd and 4th centuries.
In order to enter the catacombs one has to go through a huge hall, rectangular in shape. This hall was originally in the open air, but was divided in two and covered by a vault in order to serve as a synagogue.
There are several kinds of tombs. Some are excavated in the floor, but there are also loculi sealed with brick, arcosoliums and so-called kokhim tombs. The latter are of Phoenician origin and consist of loculi on several levels.
The cubicles are painted with flower and animal motifs, but some of them also have typically Jewish subjects like the Ark of the Covenant and the menorah (seven-branch candelabrum). There are inscriptions in Hebrew.