The Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio Church in Rome was built in 398, at the exact spot where the house of Giovanni and Paolo was located. Giovanni and Paolo were two Roman notables who became martyrs in the year 361 through the heathen Emperor Giuliano l’Apostata .
Santi Giovanni and Paolo Church Rome
Address: The address of the Church of the Saints Johan and Paul at the Caelian Hill is Piazza dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, 13 – 00184 Rome (tel. +39 067005745 or +39 06772711). Bus: 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, 186, 673, 810, C3, N2, N11. Tram: 3, 8. Opening hours: From 08.30 till 12.00 (Sundays and holidays 12.45) and from 15.30 till 18.00. Admission: Free.
History and description
Construction of the basilica was started in the year 398. The building was commissioned by Senator Bizante and/or his son Pammacchio. The site was chosen because there used to be a number of houses that were used for religious services. These kind of dwellings were called domus ecclesiastae. Two Roman soldiers called Giovanni and Paolo used to live in these houses and were also buried there. They were martyred during the reign of Julian the Apostate.
At the time there was a small convent next to the basilica. This was later destroyed, to be rebuilt in the early 12th century, under Pope Pasquale II.
The Basilica of the Saints John and Paul was several times (partly) destroyed. Twice this was a result of plunder (Alaric I in 410 and the Italian Normans in 1084) and one time an earthquake was to blame (442). After the last plunder the bell-tower was added.
Nowadays the basilica is a very popular church for weddings.
Underneath the church there is an interesting labyrinth consisting of the ruins of two houses and an oratorium. This site is known as the Roman Houses under the Celio Hill.
The altar was constructed on top of a bath where the two martyrs are buried.
The Romanesque bell-tower has the ruins of the Temple of Claudius as its base.
Antoniazzo Romano painted the “Madonna and Child with John the Evangelist, John the Baptist and the Saint Hieronymus and Paul.
Cristoforo Roncalli, who is better known as Pomarancio, the “Christ in the Glory” (1588).
The 19th Century San Paolo della Croce Chapel is at the end of the right nave and contains the tomb of the sasint it is named for.
The medieval oratorium was decorated in the 9th century with frescoes depicting “Scenes of the Passion”.
The cosmatesque floor was laid in the 13th century. The main portal is also graced with cosmatesque decorations.