Basilica of San Clemente
Basilica of San Clemente
4.5
About
Constructed between 1110 and 1130, this church of San Clemente is not one, but three churches built one above the other, with ruins dating from the earliest Christian times.
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Top ways to experience Basilica of San Clemente
The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Centro
How to get there
  • Colosseo • 7 min walk
  • Fori Imperiali-Colosseo • 7 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • mapbckwrds
    Denville, New Jersey16 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Under visited historical site, no crowds and cool
    History in layers, enter the 12th century Church beautiful, then do the archaeological tour. Explore the excavations underneath the original basilica from 329AD then a little lower the first century building from Roman days. Many Frescoes to be seen. Great to do on a hot crowded day in Rome or anytime!!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written June 3, 2023
  • Richard H
    Leeds, United Kingdom418 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Church and Underground Site near the Colosseum
    This is a church built on top of roman ruins. Entrance to the basilica is free, it costs €10 to enter the ruins/scavi. Entrance to the ruins is through a door on your right hand side as you enter the basilica. They provide you with a pamphlet to the archaeological excavations which includes history and a map. There's a temple of Mithras as well as the original water supply to the roman buildings still flowing through the basement. It's a religious site so you have to dress respectfully and you're not allowed to take pictures. I bought my ticket for the ruins from the official website. The church itself is quite ornate (like most churches in Rome).
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written July 10, 2023
  • gosaka
    San Jose, California547 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great visit for understanding the layers of history of Rome - all in one (cool) place
    We were looking for interesting Roman sites where we could stay cool during the July heatwave. It was 103F outside so ducking into this Basilica at the recommendation of someone who knows Rome fit the bill. This is an amazing site - it’s really 3 (or maybe 4) in one as you can see how the same place was used differently over the ages. For me it provided the context to understand just how rich the layers of Roman history are and in many ways the expanse of the human experience. Even in the height of the tourist season, the Basilica was not crawded. There’s no flashy electronic add-ons that might disappoint some but felt respectful to me. We were a bit rushed and went through the site in 40 minutes. I’d plan for at least an hour to do it justice.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written July 25, 2023
  • joshbraid@comcast.net
    166 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Descent into the Past
    We visited a number of basilicas in Rome and enjoyed this one greatly, perhaps for its differences. we we fortunate to arrive early enough to tour the two lower levels--really the amazing part for us, to walk through a church where so many saints walked, to go down deep to the old Roman homes underneath. The lights are dim and walkways can be surprising, so take your time. Worth the trip if you want to experience Christian Rome.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written October 25, 2023
  • Angie_Cdn_Traveller
    69 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Unique Facility with Amazing historical significance
    San Clemente was a very unique visit among all the churches to see in Italy. The only disappointment is that photos of the underground are not permitted. Seeing the different "layers" of history all in one location is well worth the visit.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written November 18, 2023
  • Christyrone
    Karachi, Pakistan12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a place and amazing history
    Stumbled onto it by chance. It was breathtaking, walking through the underground levels covering 2,000 years of Roman history...the ancient Roman house, the Roman alley and not to mention a running spring. Amazing feeling...sadly they don't allow photographs and the time duration of 30 minutes doesn't do justice .
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written December 25, 2023
  • Sanski66
    Espoo, Finland380 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A church within a church within a church
    Something different to experience, in addition to a “modern” church ancient history beneath. This time of the year now crowds but the entrance fee was higher (12eur) compared to an online booking (10eur). Open 10-12:30, 14-17:30 this time of the year.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written February 6, 2024
  • Replicator
    Bristol, United Kingdom355 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend but book with a guide. We used touriks.
    Extremely interesting place but we did this with a guide who was excellent and explained all the frescos and items within the church and underground which made it come to life. Impressive to see the underground and water running through. Highly recommend.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written March 18, 2024
  • Richard j
    Markham, Canada419 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lasagne church
    Very interesting! The church itself is beautiful, but it’s incredible to be able to explore the excavations - fourth and first century AD cite beneath it. Can order tickets in advance online. It a quick 30/45 minute visit, 5 minute walk from the Colosseum.
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written April 2, 2024
  • cath53
    Coventry, United Kingdom123 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating, beautiful hidden gem
    Simply stunning church just 5 or 10 mins walk from the Colosseum, this was a beautiful and peaceful stop on a busy day. From the outside, it is a tall plain white set of walls, but as soon as you step through the doors into a beautiful courtyard, it is clear this is another of Rome’s hidden gems. The current basilica is gorgeous. Ornately decorated but quite small. I took a few minutes to sit on the benches and enjoy the peaceful beauty. To the right, is where the magic begins! A small exhibition shows the excavation and the layers underneath the church. You have to pay €10 to go down into this section. There is a set of rooms featuring a 4th century church with ancient frescos and walls, but the really unique part is when you descend to the oldest part, dating back to the 1st century. It’s darker, narrower, damper! You see the remains of a Mithras temple and rooms that were used. The water supply bubbles nearby. The leaflet you get and signage is minimal in terms of information, and you are not allowed to take photos unfortunately. However I found this much more fascinating than the Colosseum that I had been to an hour previously. Rome is so crowded, but a visit to this fascinating piece of history, free of crowds was a real highlight of my trip.
    Visited May 2024
    Travelled solo
    Written May 13, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles4,408 reviews
Excellent
3,261
Very good
943
Average
161
Poor
28
Terrible
15

cath53
Coventry, UK123 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Solo
Simply stunning church just 5 or 10 mins walk from the Colosseum, this was a beautiful and peaceful stop on a busy day. From the outside, it is a tall plain white set of walls, but as soon as you step through the doors into a beautiful courtyard, it is clear this is another of Rome’s hidden gems. The current basilica is gorgeous. Ornately decorated but quite small. I took a few minutes to sit on the benches and enjoy the peaceful beauty. To the right, is where the magic begins! A small exhibition shows the excavation and the layers underneath the church. You have to pay €10 to go down into this section. There is a set of rooms featuring a 4th century church with ancient frescos and walls, but the really unique part is when you descend to the oldest part, dating back to the 1st century. It’s darker, narrower, damper! You see the remains of a Mithras temple and rooms that were used. The water supply bubbles nearby. The leaflet you get and signage is minimal in terms of information, and you are not allowed to take photos unfortunately. However I found this much more fascinating than the Colosseum that I had been to an hour previously.
Rome is so crowded, but a visit to this fascinating piece of history, free of crowds was a real highlight of my trip.
Written May 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brad
Hong Kong, China172,963 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
This is a very interesting church to visit along Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano around half way between the Colosseum and Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano. What makes San Clemente unique is the opportunity to visit and see three historic places built on top of each other over the centuries. The ground level basilica dates back to the early 12th-century, it stands atop a 4th-century church which in turn was built upon the ruins of 1st-century Roman buildings possibly destroyed during the Great Fire of 64 AD.

The main basilica and cloister are free to enter. The nave is richly decorated and worth spending 15-20 minutes to view the impressive mosaics, wall frescos, panelled ceiling and Cosmatesque floor patterns. If you then want to visit the lower levels, enter the gift shop. This is where you find the ticket booth (€10.00 per adult) and entryway to see the 4th-century church ruins below before proceeding even lower to the 1st century Roman ruins even further underground. It is a unique experience, different to underground crypts that you often find when visiting historic churches. Note: You can also reserve tickets online through the church website.
Written April 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Richard j
Markham, Canada419 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Very interesting!

The church itself is beautiful, but it’s incredible to be able to explore the excavations - fourth and first century AD cite beneath it.

Can order tickets in advance online.

It a quick 30/45 minute visit, 5 minute walk from the Colosseum.
Written April 2, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Replicator
Bristol, UK355 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Extremely interesting place but we did this with a guide who was excellent and explained all the frescos and items within the church and underground which made it come to life.
Impressive to see the underground and water running through. Highly recommend.
Written March 18, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JenK105
Dublin, Ireland284 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We visited the Basilica which was lovely but they definitely need to do a lot of work on their information. We paid to go into the basement which was really interesting but had practically not information. We found it a little disappointing.
Written March 4, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sanski66
Espoo, Finland380 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Something different to experience, in addition to a “modern” church ancient history beneath. This time of the year now crowds but the entrance fee was higher (12eur) compared to an online booking (10eur). Open 10-12:30, 14-17:30 this time of the year.
Written February 6, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christyrone
Karachi, Pakistan12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Stumbled onto it by chance. It was breathtaking, walking through the underground levels covering 2,000 years of Roman history...the ancient Roman house, the Roman alley and not to mention a running spring. Amazing feeling...sadly they don't allow photographs and the time duration of 30 minutes doesn't do justice .
Written December 25, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter S
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Incredible journey through time. Underneath San Clemente lies two thousand years of the eternal city. Has to be seen to be believed.
Written November 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Angie_Cdn_Traveller
Calgary, Alberta69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
San Clemente was a very unique visit among all the churches to see in Italy. The only disappointment is that photos of the underground are not permitted. Seeing the different "layers" of history all in one location is well worth the visit.
Written November 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Martin T
Tonbridge, UK575 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
I have long wanted to visit this church - have heard of its amazing history - but prepared to be underwhelmed by another old church and some excavations (relatively speaking, this is Rome!) So impressed and glad I made it. I liked the modesty of the church in a quiet neighbourhood, the cool courtyard, and an impressive interior. Nice mix of antiquity and baroque, but what stands out are the schola - which was brought up from the old church, a good bit of 12th century recycling - and the amazing mosaics. The mosaics must be among the finest in Europe. The excavations beneath are well worth the 10 euro booking fee, and are much more extensive than expected. They are quite sparse, and atmospheric. The old Roman alleyway is still there, used to prop up the church above, the house temple still there as it was two thousand years ago.

Well worth a visit and taking the time to digest the details.
Written November 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Basilica of San Clemente - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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