Chiesa dei Santi Nereo e Achilleo

Chiesa dei Santi Nereo e Achilleo

Chiesa dei Santi Nereo e Achilleo
4.5
What people are saying
A truly unique church
3.0 of 5 bubblesSept 2019
The church, near the Caracalla Baths, in a beautiful setting of greenery with pine and cypress trees. was built in memory of the bandages that St. Peter lost on the spot, while running away from Rome to escape martyrdo. They protected the wounds of his foot caused by the chains which tightly bound him in prison. For this reason the church was recorded as 'Titulus Fasciole' (bandages) in a IVth century inscription. The inscription was repeated on the XVth century lintel above the entrance. At the end of the VIth century the church was dedicated to Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, two Roman Christian soldiers who were put to death at the time of Emperor Domitian. On that occasion the relics of the two martyrs were moved to this church from the catacombs of Domitilla. The column which stands opposite the church had an ancient capital and above it a bronze cross both of which have been stolen. In the IXth century the church was protected by walls and by two towers one of which can still be seen near the apse of the church. Today this tower is not as tall as it was when originally built. In the following centuries the church was subject to a great decline, only during the Jubilee of 1475, Pope Sixtus IV wanted it to restored. The last renovation dates back to the Jubilee of 1600 which Cardinal Cesare Baronio was in charge also financially . The interior of the church has three naves, with octagonal pillars, which Sixtus IV had placed instead of the original columns. The naves and apse are decorated with frescoes requested by Cardinal Baronio. Probably they are are the work of Pomarancio (Niccolò Circignani, an Italian painter of the late-Renaissance or Mannerist period). The relics of Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla are placed on the main altar. On the altar of the right aisle is the work of the painter Durante Alberti, "Madonna adored by the Angels", while in the one of the left aisle we find the "Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla", by Il Pomarancio, a work which dates back to 1600. The arch all around the apse is decorated with a mosaic of the eighth century depicting the "Transfiguration of Jesus". Of the façade, which was once decorated with various friezes and ornamentations, with niches, columns and windows, of that ancient beauty very littke remains: only an image of the Madonna and two granite columns which are placed in support of the tympanum at the central entrance. The Basilica of Saints Nereus and Achillaeus became one of the most important places for Roman Christianity, as evidenced by the precious frescoes that still today decorate all the walls. These were made in the seventeenth century, when the entire building was restored at the behest of the powerful cardinal Cesare Baronio: all the colorful frescoes in the central nave depict and narrate, with brilliance and decisive strokes, in an impressive and at times gruesome manner, the martyrdom of Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla with scenes that are also bloody and make a strong impact. Unfortunately the church is only open a few times a week, so it takes a bit of luck to see its interior. Today it has become a very popular “location” for weddings, because during the day the area is beautiful and the church is surrounded by greenery and ancient monuments. A truly unique place, all to be discovered!

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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Centro
How to get there
  • Circo Massimo • 9 min walk
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dapper777
Monaco63,855 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019 • Friends
The church, near the Caracalla Baths, in a beautiful setting of greenery with pine and cypress trees. was built in memory of the bandages that St. Peter lost on the spot, while running away from Rome to escape martyrdo. They protected the wounds of his foot caused by the chains which tightly bound him in prison. For this reason the church was recorded as 'Titulus Fasciole' (bandages) in a IVth century inscription. The inscription was repeated on the XVth century lintel above the entrance.
At the end of the VIth century the church was dedicated to Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, two Roman Christian soldiers who were put to death at the time of Emperor Domitian. On that occasion the relics of the two martyrs were moved to this church from the catacombs of Domitilla.
The column which stands opposite the church had an ancient capital and above it a bronze cross both of which have been stolen.
In the IXth century the church was protected by walls and by two towers one of which can still be seen near the apse of the church. Today this tower is not as tall as it was when originally built.
In the following centuries the church was subject to a great decline, only during the Jubilee of 1475, Pope Sixtus IV wanted it to restored.
The last renovation dates back to the Jubilee of 1600 which Cardinal Cesare Baronio was in charge also financially .
The interior of the church has three naves, with octagonal pillars, which Sixtus IV had placed instead of the original columns. The naves and apse are decorated with frescoes requested by Cardinal Baronio.
Probably they are are the work of Pomarancio (Niccolò Circignani, an Italian painter of the late-Renaissance or Mannerist period).
The relics of Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla are placed on the main altar.
On the altar of the right aisle is the work of the painter Durante Alberti, "Madonna adored by the Angels", while in the one of the left aisle we find the "Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla", by Il Pomarancio, a work which dates back to 1600.
The arch all around the apse is decorated with a mosaic of the eighth century depicting the "Transfiguration of Jesus".
Of the façade, which was once decorated with various friezes and ornamentations, with niches, columns and windows, of that ancient beauty very littke remains: only an image of the Madonna and two granite columns which are placed in support of the tympanum at the central entrance.
The Basilica of Saints Nereus and Achillaeus became one of the most important places for Roman
Christianity, as evidenced by the precious frescoes that still today decorate all the walls.
These were made in the seventeenth century, when the entire building was restored at the behest of the powerful cardinal Cesare Baronio: all the colorful frescoes in the central nave depict and narrate, with brilliance and decisive strokes, in an impressive and at times gruesome manner, the martyrdom of Saints Nereo, Achilleo and Domitilla with scenes that are also bloody and make a strong impact.
Unfortunately the church is only open a few times a week, so it takes a bit of luck to see its interior.
Today it has become a very popular “location” for weddings, because during the day the area is beautiful and the church is surrounded by greenery and ancient monuments.
A truly unique place, all to be discovered!
Written May 1, 2020
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