August 10, 2010.
These damp walls surrounded those held prisoner by the emperor of Rome – people considered enemies of the state. According to tradition, two of the most famous held there were the apostles Saints Peter and Paul.
The Mamertino jail has reopened its doors after a year of restoration work which has helped reveal some of its secrets. Archaeologists discovered that this place has a circular shape and that it was also a place of worship. Patricia Fortini"For the first time proof has been found showing that the Tullianum was a place of worship - certainly from the Archaic Age, and linked to water. In fact, water springs from the ground. "
The water emerged from an opening in the original pavement, leading to an underground water spring about 10 feet high, covered by the construction of the jail.
Given this discovery, there is greater probability that this was the place where St. Peter was imprisoned. According to Christian tradition, his jailors became disciples and he baptized them with water from a well that emerged after making the sign of the cross on the ground.
This same water helped create these caverns located more than 12 feet underground in a place difficult to bear..
Patricia Fortini"We have to imagine it as a kind of dark, damp room with the presence of water. Therefore, it is very gloomy. The Latin sources remind us of this sad aspect of the prison. "
Another discovery as a result of the restoration is artwork consisting of frescoes painted during the XI and XIII centuries in the Church established here. Pope Sylvester had the structure built in 314 AD. One painting shows Jesus with Peter.
Another treasure of the prison for many years and which became a place of pilgrimage is called the 'Shrine of the Holy Crucifix. " It was built in 1888 recalling the year 400 that Christ appeared in the front of the jail.
The 'Mamertino' jail continues to attract the interest of scholars and pilgrims from all over the world wanting to know more about the life of St. Peter and the early Christians