You are along the route: THE PATRONS OF ROME. HISTORY OF PETER AND PAUL
You will find all the places recommended on this itinerary open from Tuesday to Saturday. Should you decide to go on a Sunday, the catacombs of San Sebastiano will be closed, but you can visit the Basilica. Should you decide to go on a Monday, the Temple of Bramante will be closed, but you can see it from the cloister of the Basilica; furthermore you will not be able to visit the crypt of the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata.
A combination of historical truths and legend, the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul crossed several times, with the backdrop of a crowded and agitated Rome, in the midst of religious and cultural ferment.
Peter was a fisherman from Galilee and the first Apostle Jesus called to himself. He reached Rome a few years after the death of his Master, perhaps in 50 AD. He was a great preacher and converted many to Christianity, until he was arrested during Nero’s persecutions.
Paul was born in Tarsus, in modern day Turkey, from a Pharisee Jewish family, and converted to Christianity after a vision on the road to Damascus and became a tireless messenger of the word of Jesus. Arrested in Jerusalem on charges of disturbing the peace, he appealed, as a roman citizen, to be judged by the Emperor. He was thus brought to Rome in 61 AD, where he lived in imprisonment for a few years. He was arrested again during Nero’s persecutions, and according to legend ended up in the same prison as St. Peter.
In their tragic epilogue, however, the paths of the two Apostles separated: Peter attempted to escape, but an apparition of Jesus on the Via Appia convinced him to turn back and face martyrdom. He was crucified in Caligula’s Circus at the foot of the Vatican hill; as he did not believe he was fit to die like Christ, he asked that his cross be planted in the ground upside-down.
As a Roman citizen, Paul was given the ‘privilege’ of a less painful death and was beheaded at Acquae Salviae, south of Rome, in 67 AD.
The terrestrial lives of the two Apostles thus ended, but they left traces of their passage through the Eternal City and their places of preaching, miracles, prodigious conversions and simple everyday deeds, saved by the devotion of the people, to this day preserve something of their special lives.