the basilica di san clemente is too easy to overlook in rome. the fact that it is a stone’s throw away from both colosseum and the forum does not help: who, after having toured one or both of those sites, has the strength to do anything apart from collapse in a chair with a big glass of wine? (no, seriously.)

luckily, we’d already done that bit of rome on our last trip; so this time, we could indulge in this more ‘off the beaten path’ tourism. (then again, let’s not toot our own horn too much: it does come up as number 9 of 676 tourist attractions in rome on trip advisor.)

let’s think about the obvious highlights:

– 12th century basilica

– 5th century mosaics

–  pretty courtyard

and what about downstairs….?

all things extraordinaire.

it cost us 7.5 euros (i think?) to go downstairs, but don’t hesitate to pay. it’ll be pretty worth it. here, you see an excavation site in progress. (ok, ok, most of it is done…. but there’s more to do! more to renovate!) what does lonely plant say about it? that it allows you to penetrate rome’s layered past. what do i say about it? they’re totally right and you have to go. just wandering around the catacombs downstairs, with the damp, the darkness, the sound of trickling waters, the superimposed pagan/religious site, the slab with pagan symbols on one side and christian ones on the other, the frescos dating from the 4th and 5th centuries, … you’ll see. it’s very cool.

most people would want to show you the beautiful inside of the basilica

but i don’t want to spoil the surprise

the outdoor looks so cutesy but plain

(you’d easily give it a miss) (especially if you’re thirsty for wine)


so you’ll have to go there to see what lies inside. and beneath.

basilica di san clemente

via di san giovanni in laterano



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