a visit to the vatican was part of our pre-cruise stay in rome in november 1998 .
i had read about the private tours of the vatican one could arrange , but didn't want to "double-pay" .
i saw a roped off stairway leading into the catacombs and noticed a "junior" priest leading a small group of people towards the roped off entrance .
mrs h and i quickly decided to "join the tour" and were thus able to gain entrance to the catacombs .
if such visit is not yet on your iteniary , you might consider adding it .
i had visted the catacombs under st. stephan's in vienna many times as a boy , so visiting the vatican catacombs was a very interesting experience to me .
picture taking seemed to be tolerated if done "respectfully" .
sorry for the super size - it's done "respectfully" .