"Layer churches" in Rome

Aug 15th, 2013, 08:33 AM
  #1  
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"Layer churches" in Rome

Hi all,

Starting the prelim planning for our 7th trip to Rome next spring. We visited San Clemente a few trips ago and were fascinated by the three layers (Mithraeum on up to modern church). From what I understand, there are many such churches in Rome, as sacred ground tends to remain holy even when the religion changes. I'm aware of Santa Prisca, S. Giovanni e Paolo, and S. Stefano Rotondo. I believe the excavations may require an appointment for at least one of them. I'd love to add other such layer churches to our list!

Many Thanks,
TA
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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PS. We've done the Scavi Tour of the Necropolis under St. Peter's. Highly recommended!
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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I've never found "layer" churches very satisfactory. Talk to some of the priests privately, or their chums, and you often find really deep understanding of the archaeology of the "pagan" layer: but at most casual visits, that layer is close to dismissed, both in the captioning and by guides.

I mean, it's not as if there's a shortage of 100% pagan temple sites in Rome, the modern church is there primarily to bring people closer to the Christian god, and the pagan layer rarely has the frescoes, the anecdotes about martyrdom and the spectacular reliquaries of Santa Thingumabobba's big toe the early Christian basilica and the Romanesque or Baroque top storey have. So you can understand why: but it's still a bit of a bugger (especially if you share my visceral horror at Roman Baroque.) I've vowed never to do one again without serious prior research, both on the web and in a proper library.

Try Santa Maria sopra Minerva - but do get to your friendly neighbourhood classical library first.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Hi flanneruk,
Thanks for the reply. Santa Maria sopra Minerva is a lovely church that we visited about a decade ago, but I wasn't aware the excavations were viewable. I will look into it. My husband has an undergraduate degree in ancient history, although his focus was ancient Greece, so we do dig fairly deep to find as much information as we can find prior to the trip. My "job" is to identify the sites of interest and work out the logistics, whilst he handles accumulating the research so that we know what we are staring at . Otherwise, I am in complete agreement with your assessment that mixed layer sites can be extremely unsatisfactory.
Best,
TA
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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I remember Kristina seeing a few undergrounds on a Rome trip. Perhaps there is something useful in her trip report. It seems mostly on this day.

http://www.wired2theworld.com/Rome2009Day5.html
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 15th, 2013, 06:12 PM
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You might find something useful in this list also. I don't think this guy has updated his website recently, but he has a lot of church info.

http://www.stuardtclarkesrome.com/churches.htm

The Rome Tourist Board list of churches:

http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-sv...rico-artistico
kybourbon is online now  
Aug 15th, 2013, 07:39 PM
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Thank you ky! You are *always* so helpful in providing advice on my threads. It is much appreciated! Off to go look into your websites while I have some relative peace and quiet
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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There are many "layer" churches in Rome, but most have very limited, if any, opening hours. I have attempted to visit many of the ruins under the churches over several visits to Rome. San Clemente, Giovanni e Paolo and the St. Peter's scavi have the most extensive and best preserved subterranean excavations that I have visited. It is (or at least was) possible to visit San Martino ai Monte, San Nicola in Carcere, San Lorenzo in Lucinia, Santa Prudenziana, and Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.
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