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The catacombs of Venice were a series of underground tombs and graves that lay under the buildings and canals of Venice, Italy. Over centuries, a maze of passageways was carved out as space for the dead was needed. Started by pagans, the catacombs were expanded by Christians. As the city above began to sink, some of the catacombs became flooded with oil and water.


In 1938, Indiana Jones discovered an entrance point to the catacombs by breaking through a large "X" on the floor inside the Library of San Barnaba, using clues left behind by his missing father. Bringing Elsa Schneider with him, he set out to find the part of the catacombs that would most likely correspond to the time period that a Knight who had found the Grail would have been buried in.[1]

As they ventured into the crypts, Schneider pointed out that they started in an older part of the catacombs, judging by the 4th or 5th century pagan symbols. Further down, Jones recognized a wall drawing of the Ark of the Covenant. Reaching a dead end, Jones found another "X" on the wall, and broke through it, revealing a partially flooded passageway lined with wall tombs. Making a torch out of a bone and its decayed clothing, dipped in the petroleum-filled waters, Jones led the way down the corridor. Eventually abandoning the rat-filled edges to stand in the murky liquids, the two reached a room filled with Crusader sarcophagi, including one belonging to their Grail discoverer. Jones and Schneider spotted Sir Richard's coffin, and opened it. Jones realized that the dead knight's shield was the second marker they were seeking, and began to make a rubbing, filling in the gaps in the account found in the Grail tablet.[1]

After knocking out Marcus Brody in the library, members of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword entered the catacombs and followed Jones and Schneider at a distance. When they reached the spot where the petroleum-covered waters began, they stopped and ignited the petrol to put a stop to Jones' and Schneider's work. With a fire racing toward the knight's tomb, the brothers returned back up to the library.[1]

Jones and Schneider heard the screech of angry rats and the rush of flames, and quickly toppled the sarcophagus over, dumping the skeleton of Sir Richard and his shield into the water. Trapping an air pocket in the inverted coffin, the two plotted their next course of action - swimming under the flames to a connecting sewer line, which led back to the Piazza San Marco.[1]


Behind the scenes[]

Venice does not have catacombs in real life, as the city is built on wood pilings on islands in a saltwater lagoon. It does have several churches with underground crypts, some of which are partially submerged, and can be toured.



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