Walk just a few steps away from the Colosseum and find yourself back in the Middle Ages.
The Basilica of Santi Quattro Coronati was erected in IX century on a previous Early Christian church. The monastery attached to it was fortified in XIII century to become a safe refuge for the Popes, who lived nearby in the Lateran Palace, and it still looks and feels like a Medieval castle. It is now a convent where nuns live in cloistered life. The church was made smaller and restyled later on, but the whole complex still shows traces of its grandness in the Middle Ages. Its most precious hidden treasure is the Chapel of St. Sylvester, fully and remarkably frescoed in XIII century, a rare example of Medieval painting in Rome with some unique details. A nun will open us the door from behind a grating. We will also visit the charming and inspiring Medieval cloister, where time did not go by. Here a small chapel to Santa Barbara still shows frescos form IX century.
Freedive across the modern square to reach another Medieval jewel: San Lorenzo in Palatio (Sancta Sanctorum) inside the Scala Santa building. This was the private chapel of the Pope in the Lateran Palace, where Popes resided from IV to XIV century, before they moved to the Vatican. The Palace is no longer there, but this chapel was perfectly preserved as it housed most important relics well protected by a series of bronze doors. Its XIII-century frescoes are real masterpieces and were just restored.
An exclusive opening of the digs beneath San Lorenzo can be booked – with good notice – on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. See Medieval frescoes and the earliest portrait of St. Augustine (beginning of VI century).
Duration: 3 hours
Entrance tickets: cloister 1 euro + San Silvestro 1 euro + San Lorenzo 3,50 euro + digs 1 euro
San Lorenzo closed Wednesdays and Sundays.