Wonder  }  Place of worship

The Complex of the Four Crowned Saints

Medieval Rome: a little-known gem in the heart of the Eternal City

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Where is


Via dei SS. Quattro, 20, 00184 Roma RM, Italia (31m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

On the slopes of the Caelian lies a solemn structure that at first glance has all the appearance of a fortress. However, you need only pass through the door to realize that you have stumbled upon an authentic treasure chest of art. Where are we? In the beautiful Santi Quattro Coronati complex, whose monastery is currently run by Augustinian nuns.

Why it is special

Its location on the slopes of the Caelian emphasizes the atmosphere of mysticism within. The church, the thirteenth-century cloister, the Chapel of St. Sylvester, calendar room and the Gothic hall are elements of a priceless treasure trove of extremely rare examples of Rome's medieval art. The Gothic hall, in particular, consists of two bays from two similar but distinct fresco cycles. Here, pagan and Christian iconographies mingle, resulting in a truly moving mystical narrative.

Not to be missed

The church, dedicated to the four Christian martyrs Severus, Severianus, Carpoforus and Victorinus, is a testament to the architectural and decorative stratifications found at various sites in the city of Rome. Internally, the capitals are of perusal, from sites in imperial Rome, while the floor has very elegant decorations with marble and porphyry discs, in the Cosmatesque style. The left aisle of the church leads to the thirteenth-century cloister where an antiquarium with various archaeological finds can be seen on the walls.

A bit of history

The first basilica was built around the mid-5th century, on the remains of an aristocratic dwelling. It underwent several interventions on various occasions. Before 1246, Cardinal Stefano Conti added a palace with towers and frescoed rooms to the complex, evidence of which can still be seen today in the Gothic hall and the chapel of Constantine. In the 17th century the apse basin was frescoed and part of the first courtyard was rebuilt. In the early 20th century Antonio Muñoz restored the building to its medieval appearance, but it was not until the end of the century that the frescoes in the Gothic hall were rediscovered.


In 1564 Pius IV wanted to use the complex as the site of a women's orphanage entrusted to cloistered Augustinian nuns. This is the oldest such institution in all of Rome.

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Recommended by
Cecilia Sanchini

A few steps from the Colosseum, in a quiet corner stands this wonderful complex now run by Augustinian nuns. Once you enter you are immediately immersed in an atmosphere suspended in time, dense with spirituality and mysticism.


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