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St. Clement Basilica, Rome

4.7
#13 of 515 in Historic Sites in Rome
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
To see three ancient churches built on top of one another, visit St. Clement Basilica. The present church in this three-tiered complex was erected just before 1100. Beneath it, a fourth-century structure once included a basement meant to serve as a mithraeum, a place of worship for the followers of the ancient mystery religion called Mithraism. Below that structure is yet another edifice, built on the foundations of an even older building that had been destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome in 64 CE. The present church was transformed over the centuries from a private house, once the site of clandestine Christian worship, to a grand public basilica that has been expanded and renovated to reflect the Roman Catholic church's growing legitimacy and power. As you explore, listen for the sounds of the underground river flowing deep beneath the city. Plan your visit to St. Clement Basilica and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Rome vacation maker.
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St. Clement Basilica reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
4,346 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • In a city of 1000 churches, how do you choose which to visit? This one is well worth putting on your list if you're a lover of history (and if you're not, what are you doing in Rome?). As churches.....  more »
  • A really interesting place to visit, especially if you buy access (€10) to the underground two levels. There are churches built on 3 layers, and you can view each of these in great detail. It's a...  more »
  • The basilica is built upon the remains of the home of the consul Titus Flavius Clemens, who bequeathed the property to the third pope after Saint Peter, also named Clement. (Both were martyred.) The....  more »
Google
  • If you come to Rome and are near the coliseum then you must walk a block to St. Clement Basilica and see the church that was built upon a church that was built upon a house! 3 layers and the history is just incredibly. And it's only 10Euro a person to see (kids are a reduced fee). You can do it in as little as 30min but if you stop and read the signs allow for an hour. You can't take photos but it shows the original artwork that they were able to recover and at the lowest level there is a water stream. If you are in Rome during the summer months and want to get out of the heat, the exhibit opens at 3pm so take a break from the heat and enjoy this cool 3 layers of history that dates back to before Christ!
  • Arrived at 12:15 and was looking forward to at least a good hour or even two visiting this brilliant church and site. Having checked the website for opening hours and confirming that it would be open my family and I were hugely disappointed when we walked in the main entrance to be greeted with a very rude man and staff advising us that the church and site was closing until 15:30. What a let down.
  • The church itself is beautiful, with a lamb of god theme that we hadn't seen in any other church. The real draw though, and well worth the 10 euro charge, is down below. You really get to see in action how Rome is built in layers, which is often mentioned but can be hard to visualize. You can see how they altered structures below to make them suitable to build on top of them here. Realizing the 'ground level' in Rome is a solid 25 feet above ground level, and that its probably like that in the whole neighborhood makes you wonder what other treasures are down there. Well worth it.
  • An unusual internal style, also has an earlier church below it and Roman streets below that. Well worth a visit. €10 for access to -1 and -2 levels.
  • Absolutely fantastic experience. It feels like a real, active archeological site and you can get right up to the artifacts to really experience the history of the site. It's only 10 Euros to get in and worth every bit. I went twice in one day, just to experience it again. The site is small and out of the way, with few tourists. It's a very easy place to visit on a whim.

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