Courtesy of Enel

A tomb-lined street (shown here) lies far beneath the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican. In 1939, workers digging a crypt for Pope Pius XI found the subterranean necropolis. Many of the Roman and early Christian tombs were designed to look like miniature houses, with brick facades and frescoed walls. According to ancient tradition, the apostle Peter was buried beneath the high altar of the Byzantine and Renaissance churches, as shown in the plan.