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Mass and ancient Roman Ruins at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome

Since we were in Rome on a Sunday, we decided to attend mass together as a family. This meant Mom, Dad, Grandma, Deanna, Carrie, and I all attended Italian mass together.
attending mass at Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, Italy
We went to the Basilica of San Clemente for mass.

It is a beautiful building, which we knew had some serious history behind it, having been mostly completed by 1200.

What we didn’t anticipate was the tour after the mass. For 5 Euros, you can go see everything under the church, most of which was largely excavated in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, but dates back over 2,000 years. The deeper you go, the further in history you go.

So let me put together a timeline for this place…

BC (or BCE) – Romans build buildings and homes in an area where there is natural spring water. Some of the buildings may have been used as part of the Roman Mint (where the Roman government made coins).
0-200 AD (or CE) – Mithraic religions use the area to worship, and people continue living in the area.
200 AD (or CE) – First Christian church built on-site.
500 AD (or CE) – First cathedral built on-site (by filling in the old Roman and Mithraic buildings)
1000 AD – 1200 AD (or CE) – Modern cathedral uses the old cathedral as foundations
1650-1800 Baroque-style adornments added to the cathedral
1880’s-1930’s – Excavations re-discover the history of the area.

Build it, bury it.
Build it, bury it.
Build it, dig all of it up.
Charge 5 Euros for people to come and see what we did.

We are weird as humans.

I would have pictures of this amazing tour to show you, all of the places where you can walk through layers of history, but unfortunately the Basilica of San Clemente doesn’t allow you to take photos or video.

However, here’s a quick one I took of the floor in the main cathedral.
attending mass at Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, Italy
Definitely take the tour at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.

It’s a fascinating walk through more than 2000 years of Catholic, Roman, and anthropological history.

One thought on “Mass and ancient Roman Ruins at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome

  1. Lisa

    I’m so glad we did this!! You forgot to mention the pump organ and the fact that the cantor was also the organist. There were only about 10 stops on the organ, but he managed to create some amazing changes in registration!!! It was also the first church I’d been in where the choir loft was in the center of the church with chairs facing each other. It was a great initiation to being in Rome!!

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