This historic basilica is located just 200 meters from the B&B Colosseum Suite

The Basilica of San Clemente is one of the most important in Rome, not only from an artistic point of view but also from a historical point of view because it well represents a city that was built in overlapping layers. It is located about three hundred meters beyond the Colosseum, on the slightly uphill road that leads to San Giovanni in Laterano. It takes its name from Pope St. Clement, third successor of St. Peter, who died around the year 100 AD.

Until a hundred years ago it was the general opinion that the current church was the same to which St. Jerome referred when, around 390, he wrote that nominis eius memoriam usque hodie Romae extructa ecclesia custodiat. But, in 1857, Father Joseph Mullooly, then Prior of San Clemente, began excavation work under the current basilica during which he not only discovered the original Basilica, from the 4th century, immediately below, but also, at a even lower level, the remains of even older buildings, from the 1st century.

Subsequent excavations, particularly those directed in 1912-14 by Father Louis Nolan on the occasion of the construction of a drainage canal between San Clemente and the Colosseum, revealed that beneath this third archaeological layer there was even a fourth, to which the buildings belonged destroyed by Nero’s fire in 64 AD.

Inside the basilica, the mosaic of the apse, the Cosmatesque floor, the marble choir or schola cantorum with its ambos, the throne or cathedra in the apse were all original elements of the church. In this period, as in subsequent ones, the walls of the side naves were covered with frescoes, fragments of which still remain today.

In the following centuries many other works were created. Among these additions there is the tabernacle built in 1300 and the Chapel of Santa Caterina with the frescoes created by Masolino da Panicale in the fifteenth century. The largest restoration and decoration of the Basilica took place under Pope Clement The chapel honoring Saints Cyril and Methodius, which today contains the relics of Saint Cyril, was added in 1880.

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