This is the place where tradition says that both Paul and Peter were kept prior to their executions. It was a place where “enemies of the state” were kept. As we stood in this small, dark pit, I could imagine Paul writing Timothy and asking him to “come before winter” and to bring him his cloak (2 Timothy 4:13, 21). The picture of the hole in the ceiling is that which was used to lower prisoners in and out of the prison. Lisa and I are pictured on the floor level above the prison itself. Behind us are busts of Peter and Paul.
St. Paul’s Basilica
Commonly known as “St. Paul’s Outside the Walls,” this church was built over the burial site of the Apostle Paul. I think the statue of him outside the church is fantastic. Inside the church, you can see the sarcophagus, identified by the Latin phrase, “Sarcophagus of Saint Paul.”
Built 300 years before the birth of Christ, the Via Appia was one of the earliest and most strategic roads of the Roman republic. Acts 28:14-15 not only records Paul having traveled on this road, but also that he found great comfort and encouragement there from other believers “And so we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Arch of Titus
Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 21:20-24, and this occurred under the Roman General Titus in 70 A.D. The brother of Titus, Emperor Domitian (the one who later sent John to Patmos), built this monument in honor of his brother’s military conquests, especially the siege of Jerusalem. Of special note is the relief showing Roman soldiers carrying the spoils of the Temple in Jerusalem (the menorah, the table of showbread, and the golden trumpets).
Literally the Flavian Amphitheater, this is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Construction began in 70 A.D. (some workers were Jewish slaves) by Vespasian, and was completed in 80 A.D. by the Emperor Titus. It was estimated to hold between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. It is most remembered for the gladiatorial battles that took place there, but thousands of Christians were put to death there as well for being “criminals.” In1794 Pope Benedict XIV consecrated the Colosseum as a holy place, sacred to the memory of and the sufferings of the martyrs.
Pantheon is from two words meaning “All the gods.” It was originally a place where all the gods were to be worshipped. Originally built and dedicated under the reign of Marcus Agrippa in 27 A.D., this temple was rebuilt by Hadrian around 126 A.D. One of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church.
Tre Fontane (Three Fountains)
This is the traditional site of Paul’s execution. Shown above is a marble relief portraying the beheading of Paul, as well as a small column that some say is the one that was used in Paul’s execution.