Basilica/ Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis)

"Basilica/ Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 26th June 2011

Only in the 10th century this Basilica/ Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio on the Aventine Hill built in the 4th century took the second name of S.Alessio (St.Alexis) under which it is popularly known at present. The church obtained greater importance thanks to the houses gifted by Alberich II, dominator in Rome between 930-954, for the creation of a monastery. The latter hosted in 977 the Greek runaway monks from Damascus because of persecutions of Arabs, they brought extremely venerated in East cult of St.Alexis joined to the title of the church.

Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis)
In that epoch the church became a center of missionary activity: from here started their way the apostle of Bohemia and Hungary S.Adalberto, apostle of Poland S.Guadenzio, apostle of Russia and Prussia, S.Bonifacio.

The church possesses a Romanesque bell-tower, but it has totally 18th century aspect. In reality the church was completely transformed already in 1582 by the priests; in the 17th century cardinal Guidi Di Bagno ordered one more reconstruction, and in 1750 for the private initiative of cardinal Querini the church was radically transformed by Tommaso De Marchis; the latest intervention took place in the middle of the 19th century when the ceiling and apse were decorated.

Through a cosmatesque portal one enters the church, with its three naves but wide and solemn. Leaning against the inner façade one can see the wooden stairway under which Sant’Alessio supposedly lived, treasured inside a big glass reliquary supported by angels and cupids. Nearby the church, the annexed Cloister is decorated by granite columns coming from antique buildings.
inside architecture of Basilica or Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis).jpg
In the beginning of the left nave there is the 18th century chapel named "Scala di S.Alessio"; here is conserved the rests of a stair case under which St.Alexis lived for 17 years unrecognized by anybody. He was a son of noble family and to avoid the marriage his father wanted to impose, Alessio runaway from home in direction of Syria and returned after numerous years in the house of his family but was taken for a poor pilgrim and was offered a place to live under the stair case. The legend says that in the moment of his death all the bell towers of Rome started ringing on their own. The adjoining monastery palace is a seat of Istituto di Studi Romani (Institute of Roman Studies) founded by Carlo Galassi Paluzzi in 1925.

This palace was built by a noble Crescenzi family in the 10th century, and was reconstructed and restored in the same periods of time with the church. Here should be noticed a big Renaissance cloister which conserved its original character notwithstanding the restoration works. It contains a funeral tablet of one of the members of Crescenzi family, who struggled against the domination of German kings Otto, and later became a monk due to remorse for killing the pope Benedict VI.

Notes: The church opens for wedding ceremonies only.

Basilica/ Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis)
Piazza di Sant'Alessio, 23
00153, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ripa (Circo Massimo-Bocca Verità-Aventino) (Roma centro)
Basilica/ Church of SS. (Santi) Bonifacio e Alessio (St.Alexis) is Shown By "Map J Zone" As "42"
Bus: 23-44-95-280-170-716-781
Hours: Open 08:30-20:00.
Telephone: 0039 06 5743446
Fax: 0039 06 5745549

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