The catacombs of Porta d'Ossuna in Palermo is a vast early Christian underground cemetery. The site is in the natural depression of the old river Papireto to the north-west of the city. The complex was discovered by the Prince of Torremuzza in 1739 during the construction of the Cappuccinelle convent. The entrance was built by Ferdinand I of Bourbon in 1785 and is found on Corso Alberto Amedeo; the original entrance was to the south-west, where you can still find an access ramp with seven steps and a basement that was probably used as a canteen for the refrigeria (funeral banquets). The catacombs stretch from East to West and have several perpendicular corridors. Dating from the 3rd-5th century AD, the catacombs of Porta d'Ossuna with its galleries, underground cubicles and large skylights that connect it to the world above is one of the main historical sites of early Christianity in Sicily.

 

The early Christian catacombs of Villagrazia di Carini (20 minutes from Palermo), with an excavated area of more than 3,500 square meters, is emerging as one of the most important examples of early Christianity in Sicily. Dating between the 3rd and 7th century AD. it is very impressive for the scale of its tunnels and underground cubicles and also contains some of the oldest frescoes of the entire island.

 

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