By chance we were the only poeple on the 3pm tour. Our guide was Antonio, who walked us round the catacombes. He was amazing, full of knowledge and very obviously full of enthusiasm about the site. When he explained his presence there his enthusiasm was completely understandable. Around 5 years ago the local priest decided to renovate the catacombes by creating a group of local young enthusiasts, each of whom had, or learned, a particular skill such as restoration, guiding, electrical work or cleaning and labouring. They then set about restoring the site, creating a pride in their heratage, employment and bringing tourism into the area, work which is still ongoing today. Antonio explained that they worked day and night to get the site to a point where paying visitors could be welcomed and the visitor numbers have increased through their efforts to more than 40,000 per annum. Further restoration work is all privately funded by sponsors.
The catacombes are amazing, like an underground cathederal, creating a presence of the past that is rare to find. All the more stunning to think that this is a work in progress, with still more tombs to be discovered and restored by this far sighted priest and his enthusiastic young team.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.