St. Peter’s Prison

A bit of history

The Prison of San Pietro is located on the side of the Capitoline Hill with a breathtaking view of the Roman Forum. It was built on two levels: the lower level is from Ancient Rome (VIII to VII centuries BC), and the second from the Roman Republic. According to legend, the lower cell was where the apostles Peter and Paul were imprisoned and where they baptized their fellow prisoners. The two apostles did not die here: St. Peter was taken to the Vatican Hill, while St. Paul was led to a place called Aquae Salviae (Three Fountains Abbey). By command of Pope Sylvester I, the prison was turned into a church in the fourth century and give the name Church of St. Peter in Prison. Recently, new excavations have brought to light important fragments of ancient frescoes testifying to the Christianization of the site from the early centuries of Christianity in the city.

Like other places in the city, where the traces of the apostles are less visible, but have held their memory for centuries, even the Mamertine Prison represents a sign of Peter’s presence in Rome. Artwork evokes the figure of Peter – the new Moses – who unleashes the font from the rock, a bubbling spring that gives eternal life. An emotional moment of the visit will be an audio-visual presentation that will take visitors through these memories. The soldiers that Peter baptized are a sign of the pagan world that opens itself to the Good News, the Salvation, just as the Bible teaches us: "They will turn their swords into ploughshares." (Isaiah 2:4).

In keeping the memory of Rome’s first disciples alive, art has played a fundamental role over the centuries. Over 64 percent of the pieces referencing the Apostles Peter and Paul are of Roman origin –frescoes, sarcophagi, mosaics, glass goblets, ivory, textiles, medals and antique lamps depicts them and become their footprints throughout city, an unmistakable sign of their apostolate and martyrdom. We are confident that this will help you understand the history, and evoke deep and true emotions, helping you to rediscover the memories of Christian life in the city.

The visit: Multimedia tour of St. Peter’s Prison: the Tullianum - Tullian virtual tour – the Walls - Chapel of the Holy Cross

The multimedia tour of the "Carcer” offers a new and unique experience. Visitors walk through the ancient Roman prison and, through an innovative multimedia system, encounter St. Peter who will tell his story and the history of Christianity’s early years in the city. The tour will allow you to discover one of our innovative "Experience" itineraries.

The tour, with sound, lighting and video elements, begins on the slope of the Capitoline Hill, descending to the ancient Church of St. Peter in Carcere, followed by the "Tullianum," where according to tradition St. Peter was imprisoned, continuing along the walls where the stratifications of the years between the city’s inception up to the 1st century AD can be clearly seen, finally coming to the small Chapel of the Holy Cross.

With our Experience itineraries you have the opportunity to discover Rome from a new perspective, taking advantage of our staff who will offer assistance and information, and the multimedia tools which will guide you, in order to explore special places and the stories, great and small, that have made this city the great center of Christianity.

Millennia of ancient history and the history of the Church, the lives of those who spread Christianity across the Eternal City and the world, all made accessible in an itinerary of exploration that will amaze and intrigue you.