Our Christian Rome tour will begin with the Basilica of S. Clement, spreading through three underground levels one built on top of the other, introducing you to the Early Christian Church. It reflects the historical complexity and intricacy of the city itself.
San Clemente is an early 12th century church built on top of a 4th century church, which in turn was built on top of an ancient imperial residence.The high altar is surmounted by a primitive canopy, and marks the tomb of St Clement.
He was the third successor of St Peter. He was one of the earliest popes and reigned in the last decade of the 1st century.
The second level is an early Christian church from the 4th century, discovered in 1851 by a Dominican monk who began excavations in the hope of finding the house of Saint Clement, who, according to legend, lived under the new church.
On this floor are remains of extremely rare early Christian frescoes. There is also a pagan sarcophagus from the 2nd-3rd century and the tomb of St Cyril.
The best is even further down.Walking through another unmarked door and descend further, and the temperature continues to drop. The most mysterious part , the Mithraic temple revils in front of us.The Mithraeum is cave-like. It has a central altar and is surrounded by benches where the followers spread out.
After the temple, turn left into a Roman alley from the 1st century and entrance to the villa, the house of Titus Flavius Clemens.
On the right side there are two of the best preserved rooms with beautiful Roman stonework. At the very bottom there is a river flowing. Here you can throw coins into it for good luck.
Continuing our jurney we will visit the monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati, showing you the fortified Cardinal Palace.
Next is an ancient place of martyrs, Santo Stefano in Rotondo. Church was built in paleo-christian style with a circular plan, with three concentric circles: a central space was bordered by a circle of columns, on which rests a drum surrounded by two lower ring ambulatories: the innermost one was bordered by a second circle of columns connected by arches, now inserted in a continuous wall, while the outer one disappeared, was closed by a low wall.
It is believed that the intention of Pope Simplicius, as I ordered the construction in the fifth century, was to create a church identical with the church of Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, and is unique of its kind in Rome.
E dedicated to St. Stephen, martyr.
At the center stands a large cross meticulously decorated and adorned with flowers and precious stones with Christ beneficial, instead of crucified, taking up an unusual and very ancient iconography.
During the restoration work in the basement of the church came to light the remains of the barracks of the provincial troops detached in Rome, on which the basilica had risen, and a mithraeum dating back to 180 AD, consisting of a rectangular room with two podiums, on which the followers took place, and a niche aedicule of the second century AD with the relief representation in gilded stucco of the “tauroctonia” (killing of the bull) by the God Mithras.
Check also: Christian Rome private tour.