Project Description

Underground Rome: The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas

Go underground and explore the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas in Rome!  It (like all columbaria) exemplifies an ancient Roman business strategy: first, it was underground.  Underground real-estate in ancient Rome was less useful and therefore less expensive–just like today!  Second, people from the same family, multiple families, or burial clubs chipped in and shared expenses.  Thus they purchased as a group what they could not afford by themselves.  (How shocking!  This means that Pomponius Hylas is not the only person in Pomponius Hylas’s Columbarium!)

Columbarium in general, and Pomponius Hylas’s specifically, reflect the working classes’ desire for a decent burial.  They are also forerunners of the catacombs that everyone has heard of but, whose history, few people understand.

a detail of the entrance to the Columbarium in mosaics

Advice and Ideas for Visiting Underground Rome and the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas

a niche in the Columbarium containing ash urns

The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a short visit.  And it pairs up well with the nearby Sepulcher of the Scipios, just as it complements other underground attractions (like San Clemente, Vicus Caprarius, and/or the Nymphaeum of Annibaldi).  But visitors are also welcomed to create their own pairings…

Since the Columbarium is not central, visitors may want to taxi there.  If the Columbarium is paired up with the Via Appia, the nearby hill-towns of Frascati, or other attractions outside the historic center, it may make sense to rely on a private driver.  Please ask for more information!

Visiting the site requires a special permission and a timed (private) entrance.  Visits are limited to an hour.  Besides a 4 euro / per person ticket, there is a one-time euro 25 reservation surcharge. For more information, please see “the costs” section of this webpage.

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