Rome, Italy

The Basilica of San Crisogono

Trastevere

Why did mankind decide to build places of worship to pray to their Gods?
In fact, we will never know, but we continue to build them even now, promoting both the development of architecture and art.

How many churches are there in Rome? Even this question is difficult to answer, but we know for sure that the most beautiful and representative of this city arise right in the Trastevere district.

In Trastevere there are more than 40 small and large churches and even today we will talk about one of these: The Basilica of San Crisogono.

Are you curious to find out more about this church whose name you may have read in some tourist brochure? Then keep reading our article!

Two words about the Basilica of San Crisogono

The Basilica of San Crisogono, as will surely also be understood by its name, is a place of worship of the Catholic religion that rises in the Trastevere district, to be precise in Piazza Sidney Sonnino.

The Basilica of San Crisogono was built in the 4th century and is dedicated to the Saint Grisogono of Aquileia (a Roman who was imprisoned during a persecution of Christians and who was sentenced to death by the Roman Emperor Diocletian).

Furthermore, the Basilica of San Crisogono is a minor basilica (an honorary denomination granted by the Pope to important historical buildings).

The history of the Basilica of San Crisogono

As already mentioned above, the Basilica of San Crisogono is located in Trastevere and it is a very ancient Catholic place of worship, one of the oldest in Rome.

According to official documents, in fact, this church already existed at the end of 400 AD.
Going even further back in the reading of the documents, it turns out that already in the 4th century the order was given to build a church in this place. The order was given to Pope Sylvester I.

As often happens with buildings and places of worship, the Basilica of San Crisogono also suffered fate that forced it to be rebuilt or restored.

The church that we can currently admire follows the project of the architect Giovanni Battista Soria, approved by Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese in 1600 and which follows and marries the architectural styles of the Romanesque and Baroque.

Over the centuries, the Basilica of San Crisogono has become the national church of the Sardinians and Corsicans (inhabitants of Corsica) residing in Rome.

Why visit the Basilica of San Crisogono?

We must admit one thing: when we look at the Basilica of San Crisogono we immediately understand that we are not facing one of the most majestic, colossal or fascinating churches in the world or in Rome.

To be honest, its external structure is very simple when compared to other churches and resembles a Greek temple and its interior is very basic. Despite this, the Basilica of San Crisogono is a place that deserves to be visited for several reasons.

Externally it is easy to understand that the mix between Baroque and Romanesque style is worthy of admiration, but internally there is much more to see.

Inside the three naves of the Basilica of San Crisogono, in fact, we will be able to observe a fusion of elements of the various churches that have arisen right where this Basilica now stands and we will also be able to admire a magnificent apse made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Do not forget to raise your eyes to the sky: if you do, in fact, you will be able to admire a magnificent coffered ceiling that contains in its center a copy of the well-known painting by Guercino entitled “The Glory of San Crisogono” (the original is located in London) .

The works that can be admired inside the Basilica of San Crisogono, however, certainly do not end here: just look around once you enter the Basilica to be able to admire them.

To complete the whole, the pipe organ and the remains of the first church that was built many centuries ago, where the Basilica of San Crisogono now stands, which, however, can only be seen by entering the sacristy.

In short, despite its essential line and despite the fact that it is not a place known to the general public, the Basilica of San Crisogono deserves to be visited: it is a feast for the eyes.

How to visit the Basilica of San Crisogono

We will repeat this concept always, every time we talk about a church: every time we enter a place of worship we must respect it and the faith.

It does not matter whether you are young, old, atheist or believer: when you enter a church you must respect the sacredness of the place and those who attend it.

That said, as always you should know that the Basilica of San Crisogono is open to everyone every day from 10:00 – 19:00, but be careful that there are no religious ceremonies.

Of course, you could also enter in those moments, but we suggest you avoid doing it as a form of respect … and then, without ceremony, you can fully enjoy the beauty of this Basilica!

 

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