St. Paul's Within The Walls, Rome

4.2
#78 of 252 in Historic Sites in Rome
St Paul's Within the Walls, also known as the American Church in Rome, is a church of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe on Via Nazionale in Castro Pretorio, Rome. It was the first Protestant church to be built in Rome. Designed by English architect George Edmund Street in Gothic Revival style, it was built in polychrome brick and stone, and completed in 1880.The church contains mosaics which are the largest works of the English Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones.ConstructionBuilding a Protestant church in Rome became possible after the Kingdom of Italy's Capture of Rome from the Papacy in 1870.The Episcopal expatriate congregation in Rome commissioned Street in 1872. The cornerstone was laid in 1876, and the church was completed in 1880.MosaicsStreet approached Burne-Jones in 1881, but died the same year. The congregation's rector, Robert J. Nevin, travelled to England to confirm and expand the commission. Burne-Jones was eager to emulate the mosaics of Ravenna, which he had visited in 1873.Burne-Jones designed cartoons which he sent to Venice, together with specifications for the colours to be used. The Venice and Murano Glass and Mosaic Company mounted tesserae onto the cartoons, and the resulting assemblies were then installed in the church. The selection of colours, based on sample tiles sent to England by the company, was a collaboration between Burne-Jones and William Morris. Burne-Jones did not travel to Italy to supervise the work, instead sending his assistant, Thomas Rooke.
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St. Paul's Within The Walls Reviews
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  • Non-Catholic church built in Rome after the unification of Italy, built in 1873. Thanks to its outstanding acoustics is used for classical concerts. Quiet, serene in the company of the "Three Tenors", accompanied by strings and piano. Really pleasant.
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  • Visit at 8 o'clock at night. Why was open. While no one could. Take pictures and immediately went out. Garden staff and little peace of mind.
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  • What a treat we had !!! Booked VIP seats in a most magnificent setting.The Church is beautiful-unusual was the decorative writings behind the alter in Hebrew,Greek and several English dedications arou...  more »
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  • personally, I am Jewish but this is the church my husband goes to, and it is a friendly congregation with English (and some Spanish) services and a diverse and open community. Plenty of the attendees are from other denominations originally, including a few recovering, former Roman Catholics ;-)
  • This church contains impressive and incredibly important mosaics by the pre-eminent (British) pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, recently restored to their full colour and beauty (try to get someone to switch on the lights!). I am amazed they are not better known or publicised. A very interesting contrast of style to the (fabulous) rococo of most Roman churches.
  • A small English speaking service on Sunday. Faithfully providing a Protestant service in the heart of Catholicism.
  • Just beyond the church's small courtyard, on Via Nazionale, the auto traffic roars and crowds march along the not-over-wide sidewalk. Somehow this place seems insulated from all that. It's Medieval-looking interior, striped inner walls matching its outside tower, isn't as tricked out as the countless Catholic churches in Rome. This is a place Episcopalians put up in the 1870s, and they kept things comparatively on the down-low. Frequently used for musical performances, which are generally quite good. Not really a destination site, but worth a stop if there's music playing.
  • Wonderful and unique looking church in a city with so many.

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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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