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Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

4.6
#52 of 255 in Historic Sites in Rome
Religious Site Church
An off-the-beaten-path church in Rome, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere stands atop the former home of a wealthy woman martyred in the 3rd century. The exact story of Santa Cecilia's life and martyrdom is unclear, but she likely lived from 175 to 250 CE. Inside the church, discover the statue underneath the altar, which depicts the martyr's body exactly as it was found in 1599 after exhumation. If you look closely you'll notice the three severe axe cuts in her neck, modelled accurately by sculptor Stefano Maderno who was present when the tomb was opened, and whose promise to record the body as found reads on a marble slab in front of the statue. The relatively bland exterior of the church hides the graphic recreation of Cecilia's body, as well as mosaics, murals, and impressive columns. Venture below the church to tour the remains of Cecilia's Roman home. Plan your visit to Santa Cecilia in Trastevere and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Rome vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
289 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Certainly one of the most beautiful of Trastevere with Sainte-Marie. For a few Euros you will have access to the crypt which encloses lovely relic of Roman history.
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  • This church has a wonderful crypt, which can be accessed without an appointment for a small fee. The remains of Roman houses, secret rooms and the old part is the Church-all the necessary ingredients for an exciting research in stock!
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  • We didn't make it inside because it has strict hours and it was too late to wait longer. However, we had to come because of the family name "Cecilia". There was a relaxing fountain out front and some ...  more »
Google
  • This is a beautiful church and worth a visit when open. I had the chance to visit when the nuns prayed midday prayers and they let me pray along (from the pews section of course). The crown jewel in the main church, of course, is the statue of St Cecilia, which is itself enough reason to stop by. Maderno is said to have sculpted it exactly as Cecilia's body was found.
  • A church hidden from the main avenue with many beautiful paintings, well worth a visit when it opens.
  • A church filled with some great works of art, including Stefano Maderno's famous sculpture of St Cecilia, but don't miss the remarkable Cavallini frescoes in the nuns choir adjacent to the main entry (ask one of the sisters for admission).
  • When you enter the church, make sure you find the door on the left which leads underground. You have to pay €2.50 to go down to the ruins of several Roman houses and the chapel that houses the saint's bones.
  • Beautiful basilica dedicated to St Cecilia, patron saint of music. A nun was playing the organ when we were there - very atmospheric. Peaceful with not too many tourists. Closed at 1pm and not open again until 4.30pm.

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Where to stay in Rome

For easy foot access to most of the city's main historical sites, consider staying in Rome's old town center. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, only a walk away from the city's main railway station. Accommodations here span all hotels sectors, from cheap hostels to luxury brand names. To avoid the steep prices and overcrowding of the town center, explore the hotels in the inner suburbs of Rome. They offer comfortable rooms and excellent food at a fraction of the price charged by the centrally located hotel chains. Another affordable option is the area around Vatican, which boasts a good selection of family-owned B&Bs.
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