San Clemente Underground Church and Mithreum and the Roman Houses under Santi Giovanni e Paolo on the Celio. Walking Tour.
San Clemente is one of the most fascinating sites of Rome, it is a XII century church. The early Christian Basilica was excavated in XIX cent and it still preserves the middle-age frescoes, and beneath there is the I century pagan Mithraeum in which the persian god Mithra scarified the holy bull. The visit starts in one of the less known but very suggestive places of the city, the Clivio Scauro, which is characterized by the façades of ancient roman insulae and by the medieval arcades that support the Clivio. We will visit then the subterranean of the basilica church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, otherwise known as the Roman houses in the Celio, it is a church of inestimable archaeological value. It houses important frescoes and stuccoes which are well preserved and testify the path from the roman paganism to the cult of the Christian martyrs, with some suggestive mixes of symbols and allegories. We will continue to the imposing basement of the temple of divo Claudio, by the remaining piece of the monumental front constituted by two marble arcades laid one on top of the other, later modified by the Emperor Nero for the decoration of his Domus Aurea. We will visit also the Basilica of San Clemente that with its three levels, two are underground. We can touch the millenary stratifications of the area from the Romans to the present day, through the important architectural and pictorial testimonies: the Mytraeo, early Christian baptistery, the royal mint and the first statement of the newly born Italian language.
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