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St. Clement Basilica, Rome
(4.6/5 based on 3,400+ reviews on the web)
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. Take a look at our Rome trip itinerary planner to schedule your visit to St. Clement Basilica and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Reviews
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  • The Basilica is beautiful, but that's not the only reason for going... Go into the gift shop and buy tickets to access recently discovered (1950's) ruins underneath. The Basilica was built upon an old...  more »
  • Just visit upstairs to see the spectacular mosaic in the apse. Not worth the fee to visit the dark, dank, mouldy space below! 
  • Consecrated by Pope Siricius (384-399) is dedicated to s. Clemente papa (dead at the end of the century), whose relics were found in sec. VIII from SS. Cyril and Methodius near the Black Sea and from them solemnly transferred to Rome. The Church remained in its original form until about 1100, when, unsafe because of lot of the Normans of 1084 and its fire, was abandoned. Anastasio, titular Cardinal of San Clemente, the 4th-century Church had her fill of stones to the top of the columns that delimited the aisles and on this basis was built a new, smaller basilica, consecrated by Paschal II (1099-1118). In 1403 Boniface IX introduced the Augustinian Congregation of St. Ambrose of Milan until 1643, when the congregation was suppressed by urban VIII. In 1645 the cardinal Camillo Pamphilj entrusted the custody of the basilica to the Dominicans of St. Sixtus. Ten years later, because of the religious persecution in Ireland, Irish Saint Clement was assigned to the Dominicans, which still administer the basilica. Excavations conducted from 1857 to 1870 and later (1912-1914), have unearthed is the early Christian basilica is lower, below, evidence of Roman buildings: a building before the fire of Nero, a House for houses in the 2nd century ad that becomes a mithraeum. Beyond a narrow corridor and protected by a massive wall of tufa and travertine, there is a large public building from the end of the first century. d.c. (exactly below the Paleochristian basilica), recognized as the probable location of the coin, the Imperial Mint. The Interior of a Basilica, with three naves ending each in an apse, resumes in little the lower basilica. The floor is cosmatesque a fine specimen. At the center of the nave is the schola cantorum, erected in the 15th century. XII. The apse has a beautiful mosaic, executed shortly after 1100: it must provide the Centre the crucifixion with Mary and John, and twelve white doves (the Apostles). From the sacristy, via a staircase built in 1866, it descends to the lower basilica. At the foot of the stairs lies the narthex of the basilica from the 4th century; beyond, beneath the atrium of the 12th century, is the ancient courtyard of the 4th century, yet unexplored. A fresco (dated at the end of the century. IX) in the left wall of the narthex. To the right of the narthex there are four columns which once marked the entrance to the nave. But after the earthquake in 847 Pope Leo IV had fit into a masonry intended to avert the danger of a collapse of the façade of the Church above. At the end of the left aisle is the alleged burial site of St. Cyril, but there is no trace of Cyril's image that had been painted over his grave in 869.
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  • Not usually on the "must-see" lists for a first time visit to Rome - but well worth it. We came here on recommendation from our Colosseum tour guides. Pay the extra admission to tour the excavations - it's a fascinating step through time. The current church was built on top of an older Christian church, which itself was built on top a pagan temple and ancient Roman housing. Add this to your "must-see" list - it's fascinating.
  • Not in a good shape. They should re invest in this unique place but seem to prefer to let it fade out
  • Great Place to feel the history of Christianity. Don't miss the Roman water tap. Still works after 2000 years.
  • A beautiful, out of the way basilica. Worth a visit just to see the inside. Did not head down into the Scavi because it was quite expensive compared to other places
  • St Clement Basilica Is One Of my favourites as it has very interesting excavations underneath it ! Dating back to pre-Christianity we find very exciting archaeological treasures. It is now under the careful care of Irish monks who are always happy to welcome a visitor. Thank you