UNDERNEATH SAN CLEMENTE, ROME

Just because I am not religious doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a beautiful church and San Clemente is certainly a good-looking church.

It isn’t huge, but the beautiful frescoes and gold ceiling more than make up for it. Built in 1084, I imagine Father Mullooly must have had quite a shock when he accidentally discovered a completely different church underneath it in 1857.

During the long process of emptying out all the rubble, he found a Christian Basilica from the 4th century and then below that (10 metres below the current street level)  a Mithraic (pagan) temple that was used in the 2nd century as well as public buildings from the 1st century and a natural spring.

San Clemente

San Clemente

San Clemente

San Clemente

San Clemente

 

There are no pictures allowed – especially once you go underground and my goodness do they mean it.  I managed to get some using my stealth-like skills, but if caught, you will get thrown out – so be careful!

 

San Clemente

San Clemente

San Clemente

San Clemente

 

It was fascinating to walk around all the old rooms, trying to imagine what life must have been like 2013 years ago.

Apparently there is still a courtyard and a huge area that still hasn’t been excavated, which I think is a terrible shame.  Who knows what we would discover there and what could be learnt about life in the BC.

Just a five-minute walk from the Colosseum, this is a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours and is perfect for a rainy day. Make sure you pop into one of the cafes opposite when you come out for a coffee.