Case Romane del Celio (The Roman Complex Houses), Rome

"Case Romane del Celio (The Roman Complex Houses), Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Case Romane del Celio (The Roman Complex Houses), Rome, Italy

The Roman Complex Houses (Case Romane del Celio) goes back to the second century and was formed from at least three dwelling. The complex of buildings was transformed into porticoed buildings in the first half of the third century; they had shops at street level while living areas were created on the upper floors.

Access to the archaeological site is now through the door on the Clivus Scauri. An entirely renovated route through the rooms is currently in use, and facilities for the disabled are available. For conservation reasons, access to the painted hypogean rooms is restricted to a limited number of visitors.

From the end of the third century to the beginning of the fourth century the entire block was restored, it was transformed into a large, high-class apartment. The decoration project is thought to have been created in this phase.

The house was transformed once more in the second half of the fourth century, a confessional was created in the form of a rectangular raised niche and was decorated with frescos on Christian themes. It was in this period that Saints Joseph and Paul were martyred and buried in the house.

The Basilica overlooking the house was built in the fifth century, the foundations of which cut through parts of the Case Romane del Celio. The Domus Romane del Celio continued to be a cult location in successive centuries. An oratory was constructed in one of the porticoed rooms, it contains frescoes from the late medieval period, including a rare image of the crucifixion in which Christ is fully-clothed. The houses were abandoned after this period and they eventually became buried.

Formerly accessible only through the church of San Giovanni e Paolo, this important ancient Roman excavation was opened in 2002 as a full-fledged museum. An underground honeycomb of rooms, this comprises the lower levels of a so-called "insula," or apartment tower, the heights of which were a wonder to ancient Roman contemporaries.

After three years of restoration work the The Roman Complex Houses (Case Romane del Celio), where according to tradition Saints John and Paul were martyred in 362, opens to the public. Twenty rooms, with quite distinct architectural forms, have undergone restoration work. A number of them contain frescoes dating from between the second and fourth centuries, and are testimony to the passage from paganism to Christianity.
Inside the monument - Case Romane del Celio, Rome
The restoration work has been carried out using the most advanced techniques and instruments. It has been financed by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of the Interior at a cost of more than three billion lire. An aquarium which is annexed to the houses has also been restored, it contains the materials from the first excavations by Padre Germano who was rector of the Basilica of Saints John and Paul in 1887.

Tales and mysteries beneath the Celio are brought to light in an archaeological-cum-theatrical visit in the highly attractive setting of the “Domus Romane” (below the Basilica SS.Giovanni e Paolo) and the neighbouring archaeological complex of the “Claudianum” (adjoining the Basilica itself)

A visit here will provide you with a unique picture of how several generations of Romans lived. Preserved at the site is a residence from the 2nd century A.D., a single home of a wealthy family, and a 3rd century A.D. apartment building for artisans. The artwork here is probably the most telling, as some of it quite distinctly shows the naked anatomy of males, and other pagan and Christian paintings.

The Antiquarium exhibits finds from both the houses and the Basilica. It contains Islamic pottery dating from the 12th century which had been used to embellish the medieval bell-tower of the church. The two-story construction, with some 20 rooms, also contains a labyrinth of well-preserved pagan and Christian paintings.

Location of The Case Romane del Celio
Piazza Santi Giovanni e Paolo 13 (Clivus Scauri, Celio, Rome)
The Monument entrance is located at the Entrance on Clivo di Scauro
Underground Metro B (Circo Massimo or Colosseo), Bus - 60, 75, 81,175,673, Tram - 3

Spazio Libero soc. coop. soc. a r.l. o.n.l.u.s.
Largo Pannonia, 42 – 00183 Roma
Tel.: +39 06 70 45 45 44
Fax: +39 06 77 20 19 75
Office hours: Monday to Friday 10.00 am – 1.00 pm
E-Mail: (general Info), (Booking)
The Monument Case Romane del Celio (The Roman Complex Houses) Website:

This Roman houses and their Antiquarium, the property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto (Ministry of Internal Affairs), were reopened to the public on 16 January 2002. The customer service and the visits to the site are managed by Spazio Libero, a social cooperative, which is part of Consorzio della Cooperazione Sociale Sol.Co Roma.

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