The church Santo Stefano Rotondo one of the earliest examples of a centrally-planned building
We immediately turn right when we exit the Santi Quattro Coronati and face an intersection, which, if we keep walking straight, will take us to the cathedral of Rome: the San Giovanni in Laterano. Unfortunately we can’t visit all Rome has to offer. So instead of going straight, we take a right in the Via de Santo Stefano Rotondo. On our left hand side, away from the road, there’s an early-Christian 4th century church.
|Giovanni Battista Mercati ‘Santo Stefano Rotondo’ 1629 large size
Giovanni Battista Mercati ‘Ruines by the Santo Stefano Rotondo’ 1629
|Entrance large size|
|Entrance street side and entrance of the Santo Stefano Rotondo Entrance
Pictures: (mouseover): TuRaNeO
The Santo Stefano Rotondo is one of the earliest examples of a centrally-planned church, in this case a high, large central room with two ring-shaped aisles around it. The round church has a cross-shaped map.
|Entrance to the Santo Stefano Rotondo|
|Santo Stefano Rotondo and nave|
|Schola cantorum large size|
|Santo Stefano Rotondo aisles
|‘The church was built on pre-existing Roman buildings, part of the Roman barracks of the Castra Peregrina, or Peregrinorum, ie accommodation of provincial troops, and over a Mithraeum dating back to 180 AD that was discovered in the 1973 to 1975 jobs. But above all it must be a round temple was reused, so archaic or otherwise dedicated to a Great Mother, as was, for example Isis. In fact they were also found remains of this temple: a head of Isis right next to the statue of Cautopates in Luni marble, 22 cm. Often the cult of Mithras was joined to the cult of Isis, perhaps because both had a mystery cult. According to the reconstructive hypothesis of some scholars on Macellum Magnum di Neroe, it was similar to the present church of S. Stefano Rotondo al Celio, ie with circular surrounded by columns around the perimeter surmounted by a dome.’|
|Reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo large size
|Reconstruction of the dome of the Santo Stefano Rotondo large size|
|Reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo large size|
|Santo Stefano Rotondo nave
In the 12th century, Innocentius II added three large ribbed vaults. This likely pertained to the poor condition of the wooden roof.
|Santo Stefano Rotondo and aerial picture large size|
|Ribbed vaults central nave side-aisles
In the 16th century, the painter Pomarancio or Niccolò Circignani made a number of frescos about tortures on the walls. When looking at these, you feel rather compelled to divert your gaze from these horrors.
|Niccolò Circignani fresco large size|
Picture: Paul Dykes
|Interior Santo Stefano Rotondo wall with frescos about martyrs
photo: Enric Martinez i Vallmitjana
|Niccolò Circignani fresco torture large size|
Read more? Click here by Imperium Romanum: S. Stefano Rotondo