San Clemente Cathedral (Basilica di San Clemente) is located a short distance from Piazza Cesare Ottaviano in Velletri. A fresco in this church, which was originally built in the 5th century, served as an aspirin for many years.
San Clemente Cathedral Velletri
Address; Piazza San Clemente, 1 – Velletri. Opening hours: From 07:30 till 12,00 and from 16:00 till 19:30.
History and Description
Tradition has it that a 5th century Roman basilica was transformed into a Christian church. It was dedicated to the martyr and Pope Clemente I, who had once preached in Velletri.
The current appearance of the church has nothing to do with this ancient church. The first major construction took place in the 8th century.
After the bell tower fell onto the central nave as a result of a lightning strike on May 23, 1656, the church had to be rebuilt. The original marble columns were replaced by the brick pillars that can still be seen.
The main altar was commissioned by Francesco Barberini. The ciborium above this altar is supported by four granite columns with gilded bronze capitals. The temple-shaped reliquary decorated with cosmic motifs dates from the 14th century.
The “Madonna delle Grazie” icon is located in the chapel of the same name.
The oldest part of the church is the crypt, which is located under the apse. It was built in 1250. Four years later the relics of Pope Ponziano and Bishop San Eleuterio were placed here.
Luciano da Velletri painted the fresco on the wall near the entrance commemorating this event. Some of the plaster of this fresco has disappeared. People used to believe it had healing powers, so they scraped it off the wall to then dissolve it in water and drink it.