Rome Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo
One of the most important attractions on Rome’s historic Caelian Hill, the ancient Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill, known colloquially as Santi Giovanni e Paolo, was extensively restored in the 12th century, and today dazzles with lavish interiors featuring striking frescos and ornate chandeliers. The true headliner, though, are the excavated ruins of the ancient Claudianum and the Case Romane beneath the church, which offer an interesting glimpse into Roman life.
Things to know before you go
- The Basilica of Saints John and Paul is one of the city’s most fascinating ancient churches, a priority for early Christian history enthusiasts along with Santo Stefano Rotondo.
- Visitors must wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees to enter the church.
- The church is wheelchair accessible but the underground archaeological ruins are not.
How to get there
The Basilica of Saints John and Paul is located on Rome’s historic Caelian Hill, adjacent to the Palatine Hill and an easy walk from the Colosseum. The nearest metro stop is Colosseo, on line B.
When to get there
Despite it being one of the most storied and archaeologically significant churches in Rome, Santi Giovanni e Paolo is much quieter than other more famous places of worship and can be a welcome respite from the crowds at the nearby Colosseum and Forum. The church closes briefly at midday and is not open to visitors during Mass.
Rome’s Seven Historic Hills
Caelian Hill, home of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, is one of Rome’s famed seven hills that historically formed the heart of the city. The other six hills of the historic center include the Aventine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Quirinal Hill, Viminal Hill, Esquiline Hill, and Palatine Hill, where many of Rome’s most important archaeological ruins are located, including the site where Romulus is said to have founded the city.
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- Case Romane del Celio
- Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino)
- Palatine Hill (Palatino)
- Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round (Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo)
- Villa Celimontana
- Basilica of Santi Quattro Coronati (Basilica dei Santi Quattro Coronati)
- Domus Augustana
- Palatine Museum (Museo del Palatino)
- Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano (Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano)
- Golden House of Nero (Domus Aurea)
- Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)
- Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito)
- Caelian Hill (Celio)
- Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana