The Pontifical North American College

Popular Rome Tours

Popular Rome Tours

Seminarians at the North American College offer tours of two papal basilicas, St. Peter’s and St. Paul Outside the Walls, and are occasional tour guides of the St. Peter’s Scavi and Catacombs of St. Callixtus.

The Roman basilica tours highlight the Catholic theology and spirituality which gave rise to their construction, while the tours of the catacombs explore the ancient practices of clandestine worship and burial practices of early Christians. Visitors and pilgrims will discover the multi-faceted richness of these sites and have the opportunity to venerate the relics of many of Christianity’s most important saints, most notably Peter and Paul.

St. Peter’s Basilica

The breathtaking Basilica of St. Peter’s draws pilgrims and tourists from all corners of the globe.  All visitors to the Vatican are able to enter the remarkable baroque basilica of Saint Peter, whose remains are interred under the main altar.  Its baroque architecture awakens man to the reality of the incarnation, the fact that God humbled Himself to be present among us.  The basilica also is the final resting place for many popes, the successors of Peter.  Saint Peter’s Basilica presents a rich history, stunning art, and insights into the faith.  Join us for a guided tour of the most iconic church in Christendom.

Tours are given in English on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays  and Fridays, beginning at 2:15 PM.

Tours for 2019 will begin on Monday, February 18, 2019 and conclude on May 27, 2019.

Tours will meet and begin outside the Visitor Information Center, located on the south colonnade next to the statue of St. Peter (the left side if facing the Basilica).  They last about two hours, depending on the wait for security.  Reservations and tickets are neither required nor available for this tour.  Simply arrive at the designated meeting spot and time, and a seminarian (dressed in clerics) will be there to greet you.

Due to American holidays and irregularities in the academic calendars, there will be no tours on the following 2019 dates: April 12-April 29 included, May 1-9 included, and May 17. Should your travel plans fall within these dates, unfortunately no tours will be available. 

St. Paul Outside the Walls

Attracting pilgrims for nearly two millennia, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls is the less-visited brother basilica to St. Peter’s.  Although it is outside the old city, a visit to this basilica is well worth the trip.  By its beauty and size, it splendidly commemorates the great Apostle of the gentiles and missionary of Rome.  The Christ-centered theology and vision of St. Paul, whose physical remains rest in the heart of the basilica, are on full display in this treasure-trove of history, art, and faith.

Join the North American College seminarians for a tour on

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the 2018-2019 academic year at 3pm. 

Tours for 2019 will begin on February 18, 2019 and conclude on May 30, 2019.

Due to American holidays and irregularities in the academic calendars, there will be no tours on the following 2019 dates: April 15-April 18 included, and April 22-25 included. Should your travel plans fall within these dates, unfortunately no tours will be available.

St. Peter’s Scavi Tour

Commonly known as the Scavi tour, the tour of the excavations of the necropolis beneath Saint Peter’s Basilica and the burial place of Saint Peter himself is a marvelous experience for pilgrims in Rome.  Only approximately 200 pilgrims can enter the excavations per day. Therefore, reservations should be made a few months in advance of your visit to Rome.

A written request for a Scavi tour must be sent directly to the Scavi Office by email, fax, or mail.  If you receive no response or if your email bounces back to you, it usually means that the daily quota is already full. Since the Scavi office prefers to work directly with their pilgrims, we are unable to request tours on your behalf.  Request letters should include the following information:

NUMBER of visitors;

NAMES of the visitors (in case of groups, the composition and provenance of the group is also needed [e.g. university, parish, etc.]);

LANGUAGE in which the requested tour will be given;

DATES in which the individual/group is available; the precise time of the visit will be determined by the Excavations Office;

CONTACT INFORMATION (an e-mail address, fax number, or full postal address) so that the Excavations Office may advise you about your visit.

Tours should be made at least three to four months in advance.  Email your request to:

For more information, visit the Ufficio Scavi website



Seminarians offer tours at the catacomes of St. Callixtus, but there are four other Catacombs of the Ancient Christians in Rome that are available for pilgrims to visit: the catacombs of Saint Callixtus, the catacombs of Priscilla, the catacombs of Domitilla, the catacombs of Saint Sebastian, and the catacombs of Saint Agnes.  
1.The catacombs of St. Callixtus: 00179 – Via Appia Antica, 126 – tel. 06 513 01 51 – fax 06 513 01 567 VISITING HOURS are 9:00 – 12:00 * 14:00 – 17.00 (closed on Wednesdays)

Between October and May, the seminarians from the Pontifical North American College are sometimes available to offer tours of the St. Callixtus Catacombs. If you would like a tour by a seminarian, please send your request by email to:

2. The catacombs of St. Sebastian: 00179 – via Appia Antica, 136 – tel. 06 788 70 35 / fax 06 784 37 45 VISITING HOURS are 9:00 – 12:00 * 14:00 – 17.00 (closed on Sundays)
3. The catacombs of St. Agnes: 00162 -Via Nomentana, 349 tel. 06 861 08 40 VISITING HOURS are 9.00 – 12.00 * 16.00 – 18.00 (closed on Sunday mornings and on Monday afternoons)
4. The catacombs of Priscilla: 00199 – via Salaria, 430 – tel. & fax 06 86 20 62 72 VISITING HOURS are 9:00 – 12:00 * 14:00 – 17.00 (closed on Mondays)
5. The catacombs of Domitilla: 00147 – via delle Sette Chiese, 282/0 – tel. 06 511 03 42 / 06 513 39 56 fax 06 513 54 61 VISITING HOURS are 9:00 – 12:00 * 14:00 – 17.00 (closed on Tuesdays)

For more information about each catacomb, visit the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeaology website.

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