Sacred Area and Church of Sant'Omobono

"Sacred Area and Church of Sant'Omobono" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 1st July 2011

The Church of Sant'Omobono was built over pre-existent San Salvatore in Portico. The church is located in the zone of very ancient sacred area previously occupied by temples dating from the Republican epoch (9th-8th centuries b.C.); and the traces of human life dating from 1500 b.C.. It was reconstructed by Corporation of Tailors in 1574 on the site of ancient church of Salvatore in Porticu, which belonged to this professional organization. The late sixteenth-century facade is completed by a triangular gable. The interior has a nave with a panelled ceiling. On the left there is the altar dedicated to Sant’Omobono besides the tomb of the Satri family, who financed the reconstruction of the church in 1482. Outside the 16th century church of Sant'Omobono lie excavated ruins of sacrificial altars and temples from as early as the sixth century BC.

Area and church of Saint Omobono
(Photo Credit: Flickr

The archeological area known as the sacred area of Sant'Omobono, situated within the area of the Forum Olitorium (Vegetable Market) in front of the modern Palazzo dell’Anagrafe (General Registry Office) was discovered in the years 1936-1937during the works for the opening of via del Mare. It is named after the Church that rises on the ancient structures. The importance of the finding is related to the presence of the most ancient example of Tuscanic temple in Rome, which can be dated back to the fourth century BC and attributed by tradition to king Servius Tullius.

The excavations also revealed the existence of an even more ancient cult, which can be dated back to the end of the seventh or the beginning of the sixth century BC, and traces of frequenting testified by ceramics of the Bronze Age (sixteenth-twelfth century BC), the Iron Age, and by Greek ceramics of the first half of the eighth century BC. The temple was dedicated to Mater Matuta, goddess protectress of navigation and bound to the market area near the river.
Sacred Area of Sant'Omobono
The most important discovery is that of the remains of an archaic temple beneath the apse of the church of S. Omobono. The archaic temple was destroyed after the expulsion of the Tarquines from Rome at the end of the sixth century BC. At the beginning of the fifth century BC a new podium was built on the ruins of the previous temple, on which two coupled, but distinct temples were built: the western one dedicated to Fortuna and the eastern one to Mater Matuta. In front of the temples were two altars and a circular donarium for the collection of offerings with bronze statues of which only the base remains.

The sacred buildings were subject to several reconstructions at the end of the third century BC, in Hadrian’s age and lastly in the Severian Age (in the second century or at the beginning of the third century AD). In the sixth century AD a church was built on the temples. The church was restored with a new floor in cosmatesque style in the twelfth or thirteenth century. The church was restored in the 12th-13th c. and given a new pavement in the Cosmati style. In 1482, the church was once again remodeled and renamed S. Salvatore in Porticu, which it remained until 1700 when it was finally dedicated to Sts. Omobono and Antonio. The church was most recently restored and re-floored in 1940. The sanctuary has yielded a large quantity of materials which document the commercial importance of the area and derive from the temples terracotta decorations.
Sant'Omobono archaeological project is currently under re-investigation by a joint team
The sacred area lies between the Forum Holitorium and the Forum Boarium. The archaeological site is currently under re-investigation by a joint team from the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali of the Comune di Roma, the Università della Calabria, and the University of Michigan.

Notes: Sacred Area of Sant'Omobono (Area Sacra di S. Omobono) is visible from the outside only.

Sacred Area and Church of Sant'Omobono
Vico Jugario
Via Petroselli, on the corner with Via di Vico Jugario.
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Campitelli (Foro Romano - Campidoglio - P.Venezia) (Roma centro)
Sacred Area and Church of Sant'Omobono is Shown By "Map K Zone" As "43"
Bus: 51 - 85 - 87 - 170 - H
Telephone: 0039 06 060608 every day 9:00 to 21:00
Sant'Omobono Project:

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