Churches of Rome

The locations of all places are shown on my Google-Earth Map

Forum Romanum to Circus Maximus
Google-Map (enlarge the magnification, this map is in 3-D)

The Earliest Imperial Christian Churches

Basilica of Constantine I and Maxentius
Forum Romanum 308-312

The Ruins of Constatine's Basilica, the earliest Imperial Christian church, also known as "Basilica Maxentius", during whose reign Constantine started the building. Constantine finished it after he defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and became Emperor of Rome (312).

Basilica Santi Cosma e Damiano
Forum Romanum,-527
Unusual 6th century mosaic of Christ's Second coming

The Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano (Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian) was founded by the Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great and Pope Felix IV (527) and was recently extensively restored. It sits on a Roman temple (which can be viewed through a glass wall in the back) and the Roman Biblioteca Pacis. It features a splendid, Byzantine mosaic, a rare depiction of Christ's Second Coming (Parousia) in the apse

The mosaic is a masterpiece of the 6th-7th century (restored). In the middle is Christ, with Saint Peter presenting Saint Cosmas and King Theodoric (right), and Saint Paul presenting Saint Damian and Pope Felix IV; who holds a model of the church. Cosmas and Damian were physicians and are the saintly patrons of medicine.

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

The Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli is a titular basilical located on the highest summit of the Campidoglio. It is still the designated Church of the Italian Senate and the Roman people (Senatus Populusque Romanus).

Interior originally 1468

Fresco by Pinturicchio in the S. Bernardino Chapel (1486).

Santa Maria Antiqua
In the Forum Romanum,
Frescoes 6-8th cent

his church is the oldest Christian monument in the Roman Forum and includes the earliest Roman depiction of Santa Maria Regina depicting the Virgin Mary as a Queen in the 6th century.

The inside of the church is decorated with rare, recently discovered frescoes dating back to the 6th century and to the 7th cent Popes Martin I (649-655), and Zachary (741-752). The inscriptions of the first two are in Byzantine Greek!

Epiphany, Adoration of the Magii (565-578)

St. Cyrus (649-657)

Crucifixion (741-752)

San Giorgio Velabro
Southern Part of the Forum Romanum,
7-9th cent, Frescoes 13th cent

On an extension of the Captolinum surrounded by Roman antiquities. The current basilica was built during the 7th century, possibly by Pope Leo II, who dedicated it to Saint Sebastian. After a restoration by Pope Gregory IV (9th century), the basilica received the addition of the portico and of the bell towerin the first half of the 13th century. The apsis was decorated with frescoes by Pietro Cavallini in the 13th century.
The building as we see it today is largely a result of the 1920s restoration. However, following an explosion of a car bomb(!), parked close to the Basilica's facade in 1993, further restorations were undertaken

The interior, apse fresco 13th cent with alterations.

Santa Maria in Cosmedin
Between the Tiber and Circus Maximus,
6th cent 12th cent frescoes

Santa Maria in Cosmedin and the Fontana Nettuno in the old Forum Boarium

The church was built in the 6th century during the Byzantine Papacy over the remains of the Templum Herculis Pompeiani in the Forum Boarium and the Statio Annonae, one of the food markets of ancient Rome. A substantial restoration was accomplished in 1118–1124 under Alfanus, camerarius of Pope Callixtus II. After being acquired by Benedictines and a period of decay, in 1718 the church was brought up to the Baroque style, mainly expressed by a new façade, by Giuseppe Sardi in 1718. The Baroque additions, however, were removed in the restoration of 1894–1899 together with the coat-of-arms of Pope Clement XI.

The current interior has a nave with two aisles: these are divided by four pilasters and eighteen ancient columns. In the side walls some of the old columns of the Statio Annonae are included. Other fragments of the ancient building can be seen in the crypt. Frescoes from the 8th-12th centuries, in three layers, are preserved in the upper part of the nave and in the triumphal arch. The Schola cantorum is from the 13th century, while the main altar is a red granite piece from 1123.
The sacristy houses a precious 8th century mosaic fragment brought here from the Old St. Peter's Basilica. Of the 18th century restoration, the Crucifix Chapel and the Baptistry can be seen today.

Santa Sabina
Aventine Hill near the Tiber south of the Circus Maximus,

Built in 425 AD on top of a Juno Regina temple, Santa Sabina is considered the best example of an early Christian church in Rome. It has a similar design to the Constantine-Maxentius Basilica and the great basilicas in Trier, Ravenna,Constantinople which were built later. Although few of its mosaics survive, Santa Sabina is famed for its 5th-century wooden doors carved with biblical scenes. The church stands atop the Aventine Hill, providing fine views of Rome from an adjacent orange grove.

The Church of Santa Sabina was founded around 425 AD by the presbyter Peter of Illyria, who recorded his name and good works in a mosaic inscription (which can still be seen). It was completed by about 432. Marking a development from the earlier basilica style seen at San Clemente, Santa Sabina “typifies in plan and proportion the new Roman standard basilica of the fifth century, representing a high point of Roman church building." (Krautheimer).

A major remodeling of the interior in the Renaissance style took place under Pope Sixtus V (1585-90), which was reversed in a restoration of 1914-19. The work included reconstructing all the original windows and piecing together the marble chancel furniture from fragments found in the pavement

The church is very light inside and has been well restored.The apse fresco is from the 16th-cent. The 24 columns are from thre Juno temple. The beautiful windows and marble chancel furniture (schola cantorum, ambo and cathedra) date from the 9th century and were painstakingly reconstructed from fragments in the 1914-19 restoration

The remarkable wooden door (430) is easily overlooked. It is located at the end of one of the side naves.