Built in the 7th century BC, Mamertine Prison is Rome’s oldest prison.
Known as the Tullianum during ancient times, it is also called to as the Tullianum Carcer.
It is a small, dark, and cramped place that held enemies of Rome, such as captured Kings, conspirators, and even Saints Peter and Paul, before the State executed them.
According to legend, a water spring flowed in Tullianum Carcer so St Peter (and two correctional officers) could baptize visitors.
After the site stopped being a prison, it became a holy destination because it had held some of the Bible’s most hallowed saints.
Top Mamertine Prison Tickets
Table of contents
- What to expect at Mamertine Prison
- Where to book tickets for Mamertine Prison
- How do online tickets work
- Mamertine Prison ticket price
- Tickets for Mamertine Prison
- Mamertine, Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
- How to reach Mamertine Prison
- By Metro
- By Bus
- By Car
- Mamertine Prison hours
- How long does Mamertine Prison take
- History of the Mamertine Prison
- Mamertine prison’s Christian connection
- FAQs about the Mamertine Prison
What to expect at Mamertine Prison
The Mamertine Prison consists of two dark underground cells where Rome’s enemies were imprisoned and usually executed.
Recently built steps take you to the upper level of the prison, which is at the original ground level of ancient Rome.
The upper room of the prison dates from the 2nd century BC and displays a plaque naming the more famous prisoners and how and when they died.
The second plaque lists the saints and martyrs imprisoned here and their persecutors.
You will also see the busts of Saints Peter and Paul in this room.
When the Mamertine Prison was active, prisoners would be lowered into the lower room through a round opening on the upper floor.
Nowadays, visitors take a staircase to get to the lower room.
At the top, visitors can see the stone said to have St. Peter’s head imprint from when he was thrown into the prison.
The lower room, the Tullianum, is circular and has a small altar with a relief of St. Peter baptizing his fellow prisoners.
You will also see an upside-down cross at the altar because St. Peter was crucified upside down.
Don’t miss the column where St Peter and St Paul were tied when they converted two correctional officers to Christianity.
You will also see the spring St Peter was supposed to have miraculously created to baptize people.
Where to book tickets for Mamertine Prison
Tickets for Mamertine Prison are available online in advance or at the attraction.
Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the attraction.
When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the ticket counters.
When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.
Because the attractions sells a limited number of tickets, booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.
How do online tickets work
Go to the Mamertine Prison ticket booking page, and select your preferred date, time slot, and number of tickets to buy.
You will receive the ticket confirmation in your email after the booking.
There is no need to get printouts of the ticket.
On the day of your visit, show your smartphone e-ticket at the ticket office 10 minutes before your timeslot.
To obtain the audio guide for the Mamertine Prison, please download the Vatican & Rome App from AppStore or PlayStore.
Mamertine Prison ticket price
The ticket for Mamertine Prison is priced at €11 for all adults aged 18 years and above.
Children between six and 17 years get a €4 discount and only pay €7 for entry.
Infants aged six years and below can enter for free.
Tickets for Mamertine Prison
This Mamertine Prison ticket lets you explore Rome’s oldest prison and discover its fascinating history with a unique video guide.
The video guide is available in English, Italian, and Spanish.
As soon as you purchase the tickets, they get emailed to you.
On the day of your visit, reach the attraction ten minutes before your chosen timeslot, show the Mamertine Prison tickets on your smartphone, and enter.
No need to take printouts!
Kids under six and visitors with 74% disability get in for free.
The audio guide is available in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €11
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €7
Mamertine, Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
This combo ticket helps you explore Mamertine Prison, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill at a discounted price.
Once activated, your ticket is valid for 24 hours.
You must first visit Mamertine Prison, and when you show your smartphone ticket at the ticket office, you will receive your tickets for Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
Your time to visit the Colosseum will be around 100 minutes after your time slot for the Mamertine Prison (which you select while booking the ticket).
The Colosseum is a 15-minute walk away from the Mamertine Prison, and it is better to arrive at the massive attraction at least 15 minutes before time.
Kids younger than six years can join in for free.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €30
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €7
Many visitors to Rome also book a guided tour of Colosseum and Mamertine.
How to reach Mamertine Prison
The Mamertine Prison is on the northeastern slope of Capitoline Hill.
Address: Clivo Argentario, 1, 00186 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions
It overlooks the ruinous and scarred Roman Forum, the heart of ancient Rome.
You can reach the prison by car or public transportation.
You can take Metro Line B to the Colosseo station to get to the prison.
Mamertine Prison is just 900 meters (half a mile) from the station, and you can walk the distance in ten minutes.
If you prefer a bus, board 51, 85, 87, or 118 to reach Fori Imperiali/Campidoglio. From the bus stop, the prison is just a three-minute walk.
The Ara Coeli/P.Za Venezia bus stop is also just a six-minute walk from the prison. Board bus 30, 51, 81, 83, 85, 87, 118, 160, 170, 628, C3, or n716.
If you’re traveling by car, turn on your Google Maps and get started.
There are enough parking garages around the attraction.
Mamertine Prison hours
The Mamertine Prison opens daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
The last entry is one hour before closing.
How long does Mamertine Prison take
Mamertine Prison is a small attraction, and most visitors finish exploring it in around 30 minutes, though the suggested duration is around one hour.
Combo tickets that include access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are a hit with tourists.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Mamertine Prison is when they open for the day or later in the afternoon, close to the closing time.
Weekdays are usually less crowded compared to weekends. If you have the flexibility, plan your visit on a weekday for a more serene experience.
History of the Mamertine Prison
The Mamertine Prison was constructed in the 7th century BC under King Ancus.
Builder Servius Tullius built the lower room of the prison, which is why it is also known as Tullianum.
Ancient historian Sallust wrote that this part of the prison was dark and smelly and 3.6 meters (12 feet) below the ground and was dark and smelly.
Tullianum was used for the detention and execution of condemned criminals.
The prison was used until at least the late 4th century AD, after which it became a pilgrim site because of its association with Christian martyrs.
With time, it got the name Mamertinus.
In the 16th century, the San Guiseppe dei Falegnami church was built above the prison.
Mamertine prison’s Christian connection
According to early legends, Saints Peter and Paul were imprisoned in the Mamertine jail by Emperor Nero before their execution.
It is believed that after being in this prison for some time, both started their journey to martyrdom – St Peter towards the Circus of Nero and St Paul towards the Aquae Salviae.
At St. Peter’s request, he was crucified upside down on the site of the Vatican, and St. Paul was beheaded at Three Fountains Abbey.
Believers say St Paul refers to the Mamertine prison in the Bible (Timothy 4:21) when he urges Timothy to visit him as he did not expect to get out until the following winter.
Even though there is no actual historical evidence for this, the prison is an important religious site.
The legend had taken root by the 5th century when the prison started attracting early pilgrims.
During his stay, St. Peter is known to have caused a spring to miraculously well up in the prison so that he could baptize his fellow prisoners and two guards.
However, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the spring existed long before St. Peter’s incarceration.
FAQs about the Mamertine Prison
Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Mamertine Prison:
It’s advisable to book tickets for Mamertine Prison in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to avoid long queues and ensure entry at your preferred time.
Three different types of tickets are available for Mamertine Prison – Mamertine Prison with audio guide, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Mamertine Prison Entry Ticket, and Colosseum and Mamertine guided tour.
You can cancel until 23:59 the day before you visit and get a full refund. Select a refundable ticket during checkout. Rescheduling is not possible for the ticket.
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