Not everyone knows that the City of Rome is actually built on different layers: underneath the churches, the monuments and the main attractions visible to everyone there’s an austere underground world that is accessible to visitors.
To get a first glimpse of it, Rome is Easy has designed the Rome Underground Tour: this tour begins with the exploration of the San Clemente Basilica, a little gem not far from the Colosseum.
The Basilica was built in the 12th century over the remains of another church from the 4th century. This church stood as well over ancient Roman constructions. Thus, San Clemente presents three levels of history, three different buildings one on top of the other.
As you first enter the Basilica you’ll immediately be struck by its beautiful pavements, decorated with different types of marbles. Inside the 12th century Basilica there’s the impressive apse mosaic of Christ with The Cross, depicted as the tree of life that tells the story of salvation.
As you descend the stairs to access the first level of the Underground world, you’ll immediately be surrounded by silence. The second level, represented by the 4th century church, is decorate with frescoes, some of them still well preserved: here will find what the supposedly tomb of St. Cyril. Impressively, just next to his shrine there are the stairs that lead to the third level.
While descending to the 3rd and last level, it’s possible to see the walls of an ancient Roman house. Among these incredibly well preserved remains of the Roman Underground world there’s also a temple dedicated to the Persian God Mitra with a triclinium.
After our visit we will leave this mysterious place and climb up the stairs to reach our second destination.
The Roman Houses on the Celio Hill.