Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti)

"Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Saturday 21st May 2011

Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti)

This is one of the most ancient churches in Rome, erected in the period of religious peace decreed by emperor Constantine under the pope St Silvester I in the 4th century. The church grew over the house of annexed to the Baths of Trajan (Terme di Traiano). In the beginning of the 6th century pope St Simmacus had a the primitive church transformed in a real basilica dedicating it to apostle of Gaul, St Martin from Tours. In this church, the decisions of the Council of Nicaea (325), which recognized that Christ and God were of the same substance, were proclaimed in the presence of Constantine.

Chiesa di S.Martino ai Monti - Front
Abandoned for a couple of centuries this zone made basilica hidden by the ruins, but it was discovered in the 8th century and restored in 772 by the order of pope Hadrian I; a century later (845) it was reconstructed by Sergius II.
Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti) at Via di San Martino ai Monti
In the 16th century basilica was restored by cardinal Carlo Carafa, who obtained from Paul IV a permission to make it the seat of Lenten Sermon, while St Charles Borromeo, in the epoch of Pius IV, created here a magnificent wooden ceiling (1560). In the middle of the 17th century the church was given to the Carmelites, who brought with them great innovations and consolidation of the church (by Filiberto Gagliardi).

The facade was restored in 1664-1667 with the probable intervention of P.da Cortona; the entrance door is of 1575. The interior is on a basilican plan, characterized by 24 ancient columns, the 17th century stuccoes and niches. In the aisles there are paintings with the landscapes of Roman Campagna, by G.Dughet, and interesting views of the interiors of St John Lateran and St Peter's before reconstruction, by Gagliardi.
stairs of Basilica of San Martino ai Monti architecture nave of Basilica of San Martino ai Monti
The tribune, with a double staircase, leading to the high altar (1795), and the tabernacle are by Gagliardi, who also designed the elaborated stucco decoration of the crypt, which contains different bodies of unknown martyrs located here from the very beginning. The stairs from here lead down to a private chapel of the 3rd century from the original house "titulus di Equitii" on which site the church was built, with traces of frescoes and mosaics of the 9th century, incorporated in eight large halls of a Roman building.
inside interior architecture of SS. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti
The interior embodies a basilical plan and it is divided into three naves by twentyfour antique marble columns, with composed Corinthian capitals. The large middle nave is covered by a coffered ceiling, a choice of Cardinal Carlo Borromeo (1560). On the walls, one finds a series of frescoes by Gaspare Dughet that illustrate the countryside surrounding Rome during C.XVII. Accompanied by the sacristan, one may descend underneath the church, where one finds the ruins of Equitius’ home, rare example of a domestic church built in annexed structures to the thermal area of Traiano. Inside the church’s crypt one finds a mosaic depicting Pope Silvestro, dated C.VI.

Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti)
Viale Monte Oppio, 28 (Via di San Martino ai Monti)
00184, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Monti (Colosseo-S.Giovanni-S.Maria Maggiore) (Roma centro)
Basilica of San Martino ai Monti (Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti) is Shown By "Map F Zone" As "25"
Hours: Open 07:30am-12:00pm 04:00pm-07:00pm. Masses: Holidays: 08:30am-10:00am (winter)-11:30am-06:00pm-07:30pm, Weekdays: 07:30am-08:30am (winter)-06:00pm, Days before a holiday: 06:00pm.
Telephone: 0039 06 4784701 - 06 4873166
Fax: 0039 06 47847063

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