Sunday, February 17, 2013

Termini Part 2 - Basilica Santa Prassede & the Arch of Gallienus

View Basilica Santa Prassede in a larger map

Termini Part 1 - Santa Maria Maggiore

Ok, you've spent some time in Santa Maria Maggiore and maybe even seen the underground parts. You still have hours before they'll let you check in. What next? Follow me to the Basilica of Santa Prassede and the Arch of Gallienus! It's just a couple blocks...

OK, see the blue marker on that map? That's the Basilica Di Santa Prassede. And believe me, you don't want to miss it if you're in the area. The entrance doesn't look very promising:

Basilica Di Santa Prassede
But you're here for the 9th century mosaics inside. The church you can see was built in the 8th century (about 780), on top (of course) of a 5th century church. In the 9th century, Pope Paschal I ordered the now famous mosaics.

And as long as you're here, check out the funeral bust of Bishop Giovanni Lorenzo Santoni by then 17 year old Bernini:

Arch of Gallienus

View Arch of Gallienus in a larger map

If it's not pouring rain like it was when we were in Rome, it's time for another short stroll to the Church of San Vito and the Arch of Gallienus. Santa Prassede is just where we left it so walk south on Via Merulana and hang a left on Via di San Vito. You'll come very quickly to the Arch of Gallienus

The Arch of Gallienus
This arch was part of the ancient Servian walls known then as Porta Esquilina. It was rebuilt by Augustus and as late as the 15th century still had a pair of smaller arches to either side. The original inscription was erased in 262 and the dedication to the emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina was added by Marcus Aurelius Victor.

As with so many churches in Rome, there are excavations beneath San Vito. Unfortunately the church was not open when we visited.  But not to worry! There's loads more interesting stuff just up the street!

Next: The Trophies of Marius, The Temple of Minerva Medica, and the best Chinese restaurant in Rome.

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