Basilica di Sant’Antioco Martire Catacombs


According to legend, St Antiochus was condemned to work in the island's lead mines by the Romans after he refused to recant his faith. But he escaped, hidden in a tar barrel, and was taken in by an underground Christian group who hid him in these catacombs beneath the Basilica di Sant'Antioco.

Accessible by guided tour, the catacombs consist of a series of burial chambers, some dating to Punic times, that the Christians used between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

The dead members of well-to-do families were stored in elaborate, frescoed family niches in the walls – a few fragments of fresco can still be seen – while middle-class corpses wound up in unadorned niches, and commoners' bodies were placed in ditches in the floor. A few skeletons lying in situ render the idea a little more vividly.

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