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Point of interests in Rome

TitleSan Sebastiano
Address00178 Lazio Roma Via Appia Antica Via
TimeIV-XVII sec.
DescriptionThe complex erected on the right side of the Via Appia Antica, about a mile outside the walls of the gate of the same name, is the result of numerous interventions carried out in the course of the centuries on the original early Christian basilica. The church was one of the main stages of pilgrimage, especially the pilgimage to the Seven basilicas. The original building, with three naves and an ambulatory, was erected as a cemetery in the early Constantine era, near the tomb of the martyr Sebastian, whose ashes are in an underground room under the central nave, as well as the place where, from the middle of the III century, the apostles Peter and Paul were venerated.The appearance of the buildings that following in the course of the centuries can largely be reconstructed from the sources. The current complex is composed of the church and the monastery annex: the church, with a single nave, occupied the area of the central nave of the Constantine basilica, and was the result of the restoration sponsored at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1605-1633). It presents a facade with two superimposed orders, surmounted by a pediment: the lower level is formed by a three arch portico supported by pairs of column; the upper order presents four pairs of parastades arranged on an axis with the columns of the lower level, which alternate with three windows, of which the central one is surmounted by the coat-of-arms of the Borghese. Behind the apse, alongside the ambulatory of the oldest church, the so-called Platonia is located, an ancient mausoleum of the Roman era, long believed to be the place the apostles Peter and Paul were buried. It was also involved in the restorations of the beginning of the XVII century, when a new monumental entrance was added to the rear elevation. The last significant intervention on the basilica occurred in 1712, under Clemente XI (Giovanni Francesco Albani, 1700-1721), which demolished several rooms and erected the sumptuous chapel of the Santissimi Sacramenti dedicated to San Fabiano, later used as the sepulchral chapel of the Albani family.


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