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Basilica of Saint Clement

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The Basilica di San Clemente (Basilica of Saint Clement) is dedicated to Pope Clemente, victim of the persecution carried out by Domiziano. It is to be found in Rome, on the road that connects the Coliseum to the Lateran.

The Basilica is presently governed by the Irish Province of the Dominicans because it is thanks to the excavations carried out by the Irish priests that it was found.

In spite of it being built for want of Pope Pasquale II at the beginning of the XII century, after it was damaged by the fire caused by the Normans in 1084, notwithstanding its choir loft which is encircled by a wall, and its ambon, it is considered the emblem of the antique Basilica's in Rome.

The facade was realised by Carlo Stefano Fontana between 1713 and 1719 in Baroque style.

The inside is divided into three naves with apses.

The superior Basilica is rich in mosaics like the Trionfo della Croce from the XII century which is situated in the apse. The ceiling was painted by Giuseppe Chiari and here one finds his opera called La Gloria a San Clemente. The inferior Basilica is also rich in fresco's in both the vestibule and inside, which date back to the early Christian era.

In some of the fresco's there are the oldest expressions in a language which is halfway between Latin and Common.

Access to the present Basilica is through a side entrance in via Papale, and it is said that the legendary female Pope called Giovanna gave birth where the church is now to be found.

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