And we were off again. Another early Tuesday morning where I embarked with my classmates to see some more of Rome’s finest. Today’s stops included San Clemente, Santo Stefano Rotondo, Santa Maria in Domnica, and San Pietro in Vincoli.
You can find these spots near the Colosseum. We happened to take the 913 bus to Cipro, and then A line Metro to B line metro to end up at San Clemente. It was a long haul, but worth it in my opinion. Any time I get exploring Rome is a treasure.
Below are some snaps and a brief history of each place.
Unfortunately I did not bring with me 5 euro, so I did not get to go down into the excavation beneath San Clemente. Apparently, it’s very cool though and I missed out. Below what you see here from my pictures are many layers of archaeological history that are still yet to be discovered. There are ruins dating from the 1st and 4th century below the San Clemente that stands today (dated around the 10th century).
Santo Stefano Rotondo
The building itself is circular (rotondo). It is known that these types of buildings were used for funeral memorials. The interesting features within Santo Stefano are the frescos that depict the different tactics of Martyrdom in the early centuries. The paintings are very sad, bloody, and gruesome. They are very powerful and impactful though because it shows that many people before us gave up their lives for us.
The church is in honor of Saint Stephan and Stephan I who was the first Christian king of Hungary and Christian Martyr. In 1969, it was revealed through excavation that the site was never converted from a Pagan Temple, but was always used as Christian church. Today, this is the national church of Hungary here in Rome.
This is a spot where our teacher asked us to pray for those whom are marginalized today and to recognize the acts of Martyrdom from before and now.
Santa Maria in Domnica
This particular church is thought to date from the 3rd Century as a meeting place for some of the first Christians in Rome. The space was also used to aid poor people who needed somewhere to be cared for. Santa Maria is located very close to the Colosseum, so a lot of vagrants would travel here for shelter. In Domnica is thought to mean “of the Lord.” Not to be confused with Domenica (which means Sunday-yes I made this mistake).
San Pietro in Vincoli
Our final stop of the day was San Pietro in Vincoli which means “Saint Peter in Chains.” This is where the chains that imprisoned Peter for the first time are located as a relic. Like Jesus’ shroud from my last Roman Catholicism post, this was another surreal experience for me. I had no clue that we still had artifacts such as this still around. Of course, like I said before, no one knows if these are the true chains that bound Peter, but they have been deemed a relic for thousands of years.
If you want to see where in the Bible it mentions Peter’s imprisonment, go to Acts 12:6-7.
While I was taking the pictures of the chains and examining them, an Italian woman came up to me and said “Questa?” (what are those) and I got the chance to explain what they were to her in (very broken) Italian. It was a cool learning moment to know that I have learned a couple of things while Abroad.
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