So, where and what is this necropolis Pope Francis visited?

Pope Francis, followed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, visits the necropolis on April 1, 2013. / AP PHOTO/L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO

I was surprised to read here that Pope Francis is the first pontiff to tour the “scavi” — the “Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis under the Vatican Basilica”. My husband and I were lucky enough to tour those narrow, very humid streets beneath St. Peter’s (only unearthed in the 20th century) in 2010, and although I am rather claustrophobic, the place was too fascinating, and the privilege of being there too humbling to give in to it. To finally find ourselves just a few feet from the burial spot of Peter was breathtaking and affecting. I still get goosebumps remembering it, and how profoundly emotional it was to sense the connection with our roots — to share a moment in time, so to speak, with Peter.

If you don’t think you’ll ever get a chance to visit Rome or tour the Scavi, the Vatican has actually created an excellent interactive tour-site which gives you a great sense of it. Do check it out. It’s worth the time.

Map of the Scavi

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