The Basilica of St. Clemente is the place where you can feel, as you descend the levels, like going back in time! Just a few steps from San Clemente the Celian Hill seems left untouched since the roman times. Under a later basilica ancient “Roman Houses”, dating back to the Imperial times, are still perfectly preserved. We will then drive to the Catacombs and visit the labyrinth of underground corridors used by the early Christians.
In S. Clemente’s deepest level we will visit two buildings, separated by an extremely narrow street, which date back to the 1st century AD: an Insula with a Mithreum, a chapel dedicated to the Persian God of the Sun, and a massive square building identified as the “Mint” of Rome. Later the building became an early Christians’ place for their secret celebrations.
The ancient “Roman Houses” date back to the Imperial times and show a long, complicated history of changes and renovations. The rooms decorated in colorful frescoes mix pagan and Christian subjects, showing the confusion of a period of great changes.In the 4th century, on this exact spot, but a few feet higher a church was built, dedicated to St. Clemente, and decorated with beautiful frescoes.
In 1084 the church was destroyed, but in a few years a new one, a little smaller, was rebuilt on its ruins. The mosaic in the church’s apse is considered one of the most beautiful in Rome.
With a car or Van we might then drive to the Catacombs and visit this labyrinth of underground corridors carved in the tufa where Early Christians were buried along hundreds of years.
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