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
Giovanni Battista Mercati 'Santo Stefano Rotondo' 1629

 

Entrance large size
street entrance Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome
 
Entrance street side and entrance of the Santo Stefano Rotondo       Entrance      G.B. Falda Map surrounding  Stefano 1676
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entrance street side and entrance of the Santo Stefano Rotondo

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.

Santo Stefano Rotondo map   and drawing exterior
1. Core
2. Interior revolution, as high as the cross arm
3. Exterior revolution
4. Cross arms
5. Court

Entrance to the Santo Stefano Rotondo
door entrance to the Santo Stefano Rotondo
 
Santo Stefano Rotondo and nave
Santo Stefano Rotondo nave Rome

Pictures: Luc&Ca

Schola cantorum large size
Santo Stefano Rotondo schola cantorum Rome
Santo Stefano Rotondo aisles
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Santo Stefano Rotondo aisles Rome

Pictures: edk7

Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome

 

‘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.’

source:  Imperium Romanum

Reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo large size
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reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome

source:  Imperium Romanum

Reconstruction of the dome of the  Santo Stefano Rotondo large size
reconstruction of the dome of the  Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome

source:  Imperium Romanum

Reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo large size
reconstruction of the Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome

source:  Imperium Romanum

Santo Stefano Rotondo nave
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Santo Stefano Rotondo nave

Picture: Luigi Mancini

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
Santo Stefano Rotondo aerial picture Rome

 

Ribbed vaults central nave side-aisles
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Santo Stefano Rotondo ribbed vaults central nave side-aisles

Pictures: Sacred Destinations

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
Pomarancio  Antonio Circignani Santo Stefano Rotondo fresco

Picture: Paul Dykes

Interior Santo Stefano Rotondo wall with frescos about martyrs
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Santo Stefano Rotondo Rome

photo: Enric Martinez i Vallmitjana

Niccolò Circignani fresco torture large size
Niccolò Circignani fresco torture Santa Stefano Rotondo

Read more? Click here by Imperium Romanum: S. Stefano Rotondo

Day 4