Though originally built in the 6th century, the current structure is from the 12th century. The Santi Quattro Coronati means “four crowned saints,” and refers to four soldiers who were martyred by Emperor Diocletian after they refused to sacrifice to a pagan god. Aside from the cloister’s colorful mosaics, don’t miss the rare 13th-century frescoes inside the Chapel of Sylvester,xa0 known as the “medieval Sistine Chapel.”
Travelers may explore Santi Quattro Coronati as part of a walking or Vespa tour of the city’s abundant holy sites. Trace the history of the early Church by visiting lesser-known sites including 900-year-old Basilica of St. Clement, the San Giovanni in Laterano, and the Sancta Sanctorum, a room that once held the most revered relics in Christendom including the heads of Saint Peter and Paul and a chunk of table used for the Last Supper.
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Things to Know Before You Go
- Suitable for art and architecture buffs of all ages.
- A modest dress code is required to enter places of worship.
- The site is not wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- A moderate amount of walking is involved. Wear comfortable shoes.
- If you want to see the profane frescoes, make arrangements ahead of time.
- Tours may include round trip hotel transfers. Check specific tours for details.
How to Get There
Santi Quattro Coronati is located on Via dei Santi Quattro in the center of Rome, a few blocks away from major sites like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and San Giovanni In Laterano. Take a taxi to the basilica or any number of public transportation options, such as the #2 bus to the Celio Vibenna stop or #85 to the S. Giovanni In Laterano/S. Clemente stop.
When to Get There
Santi Quattro Coronati is open daily, 10am - 11:45am, and 4pm - 5:45pm. The cloister is closed on Sunday mornings. As an under-the-radar attraction, the complex never sees many tourists at once. In general, avoid Rome’s dense tourist throngs by traveling during the pleasant shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Even better for avoiding crowds is the winter, though temperatures can dip to freezing.
The Profane Frescoes In 2014, the extensive restoration of Santi Quattro Coronati’s “profane” medieval frescoes basilica was unveiled. For centuries, they had been hidden beneath layers of plaster and paint, possibly applied during the plague of 1348. And now, two days a month, by appointment only, visitors may finally see them for the first time. Perhaps the most significant of their kind, they depict such profane subject matter as constellations and the Zodiac, the liberal arts, and the seasons.
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- Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano (Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano)
- Golden House of Nero (Domus Aurea)
- Caelian Hill (Celio)
- Rome Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo
- Oppian Hill Park (Parco del Colle Oppio)
- Case Romane del Celio
- Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round (Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo)
- Palatine Hill (Palatino)
- Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino)
- Villa Celimontana
- Church of St. Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli)
- Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
- Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito)
- Roman Forum (Foro Romano)