These Are The Spookiest Places In Rome

Capuchin Crypt
Capuchin Crypt | © Flickr/Jeroen van Luin
Livia Hengel

As Halloween draws near, The Culture Trip takes a closer look at the spookiest places around the world to set the tone for the ghoulish holiday. Celebrate this day that remembers the dead and faithfully departed with a visit to the spookiest places in Rome.

Capuchin Crypt

The Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins is one of the eeriest sights in Rome. Comprised of a variety of chambers that house the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin monks that have been rethought into creative decorations: chandeliers are made up of arms and leg bones, skulls make up ornamental features. The bones are believed to have belonged to friars that lived between 1528 and 1870. The Order of Capuchin Friars is an offshoot of the Franciscans and value a primitive and solitary way of life. Certainly one of the oddities of Rome, this crypt is not meant to be a macabre sight but rather a testament to the transience of life. Fun fact: the name of popular coffee beverage “cappuccino” actually derives its name from the friars: the color of the espresso mixed with milk recalled the color of the Capuchin monks’ cloaks.

Capuchin Crypt

Museum of Criminology

Instruments used by serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli at the Museum of Criminology

Santo Stefano Rotondo

Who knew a place as holy as a church could depict such gruesome scenes? The ancient basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo is the first church in Rome to be built in a circular plan, following suit with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The frescoes that line its walls portray 34 scenes of martyrdom painted in the 16th century by Mannerist artist Niccolò Circignani and Baroque etcher Antonio Tempesta. Commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, the frescoes illustrate a number of unsightly torture methods, include an inscription explaining the scene, name the emperor who ordered the execution and feature a verse from the Bible.

Martyrdom of Saint Primus, fresco in Santo Stefano Rotondo

Museum of Souls in Purgatory

Located within the Neo-Gothic Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio lying along the Tiber River, this tiny museum contains eerie objects that are said to have been singed by the hands of souls in purgatory. The notion of purgatory is one of the central facets of the Catholic faith and holds that souls who have not been adequately rependent for their sins must pay dues before being admitted into heaven. The artifacts on display, including bibles, tabletops and clothing, feature hands and fingerprints that some believe are deceased souls communicating with their living relatives to pray for them to move onwards from purgatory and into heaven.

Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage

Catacombs on the Appia Antica

A number of Christian catacombs lie along the ancient Via Appia, a route that enabled trade to flourish throughout the Roman Empire and which touts a lot of intriguing history. It was normal for early Christians to be buried enmass in underground necropoli, or catacombs, outside of the city walls in what was then the countryside of Rome. The Catacombs of San Callisto are an important landmark because they comprise the Crypt of the Popes, which contains the remains of nine popes buried between the 2nd and 4th centuries, while the Catacombs of San Sebastiano contain burial chambers that span three gallery levels and feature beautiful frescoes and stucco work.

Catacombs of Callisto
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article