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“Peaceful cloisters”

Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori Le Mura
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Full Day Tour: Vatican Museums, St. Peter's and the Most Important Basilicas of...
Ranked #16 of 1,967 things to do in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: At the beginning of the 4th century, with the end of the persecutions and the promulgation of the Edicts of Tolerance in favour of Christianity, Emperor Constantine ordered the excavation of the cella memoriae, the place where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 A.D. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, about two kilometers outside the Aurelian Walls surrounding Rome, Constantine built a Basilica which was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324. Between 384 and 395 the Basilica, under the emperors Theodosius, Valentinian II and Arcadius, was restored and enlarged according to an extensive project consisting of five naves opening out into an atrium (quadriportico), or courtyard with four rows of columns. Throughout the centuries the Basilica would not cease to be embellished and enhanced by the Popes. For example, the massive defensive wall was built to protect against invasions at the end of the ninth century, while the bell tower and the magnificent Byzantine door were constructed in the eleventh century. Other important additions include Pietro Cavallini’s mosaics in the facade, the beautiful Vassalletto family’s cloister, Arnolfo di Cambio’s celebrated Gothic baldachin and the Candelabrum for the Paschal candle attributed to Nicola d’Angelo and Pietro Vassalletto of the thirteenth century. This historical period represents the golden age of what had been the biggest Basilica of Rome, until the consecration of the new Basilica of St. Peter in 1626. This sacred place of Christian pilgrimage was well-known for its artistic works. On the night of July 15, 1823, a fire destroyed this unique testimony to the Paleo-Christian, Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Basilica was reconstructed identically to what it had been before, utilizing all the elements which had survived the fire. In 1840 Pope Gregory XVI consecrated the Altar of the Confession and the Transept. Other embellishments followed the reconstruction. In 1928 the portico with 150 columns was added. Contemporary work in the Basilica has uncovered the tomb of the Apostle, while other important and beneficial works are carried out, as in the past, thanks to the generosity of Christians from all over the world. In the fifth century under the Pontificate of Leo the Great, the Basilica became the home of a long series of medallions which would to this day depict all the popes throughout history. This testifies, in an extraordinary way, to “the very great, the very ancient and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3, 3,2). Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls constitutes an extra-territorial complex (Motu Proprio by Pope Benedict XVI, 30 May 2005), administered by an Archpriest. In addition to the Papal Basilica, the entire complex includes a very ancient Benedictine Abbey, restored by Odon of Cluny in 936. This Abbey remains active even today under the direction of its Abbot who retains his ordinary jurisdiction intra septa monasterii. The Benedictine Monks of the ancient Abbey, founded near the tomb of the Apostle by Pope Gregory II (715-731), attend to the ministry of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the promotion of special ecumenical events. It is in this Basilica that every year on the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity solemnly opens. The Pope has specified two privileged tasks for this Papal Basilica: the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the development and organization of ecumenical initiatives. On June 28, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica and announced that the following year would be designated the “Pauline Year” to commemorate the bimillennium of the birth of Saint Paul. Thus, the “Pauline Year” was run from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009.
Reviewed 1 June 2014

Beautiful church and interesting to see the frieze of all the Popes.
Definitely worth a visit - it is unusual to see a garden like this in front of the church .

1  Thank OWL752
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"st paul"
in 55 reviews
"major basilicas"
in 29 reviews
"paul's tomb"
in 25 reviews
"b line"
in 18 reviews
"beautiful church"
in 64 reviews
"burial place of st"
in 13 reviews
"worth the trip"
in 36 reviews
"burial site"
in 11 reviews
"main altar"
in 13 reviews
"gift shop"
in 24 reviews
"metro station"
in 23 reviews
"central rome"
in 13 reviews
in 122 reviews
in 102 reviews
in 59 reviews
in 67 reviews
in 32 reviews

359 - 363 of 3,546 reviews

Reviewed 31 May 2014

This church is sooo understated. Everyone seems to have heard of St Peter's but, this is the one church that I think could rival its beauty. It truly is an experience visiting this church and the tomb of St Paul generates many visitors.
Well worth a visit!

3  Thank Sarah I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

After many Rome visits and living there too, I finally visited S. Paolo Fuori Le Mura. I can only say, Its a shame it took so long to get there!

Well worth visiting, and easily accessible by the Metro B Line and short walk from the S. Paolo station. Majestic, serene, uncrowded and just beautiful. No entry charge but any donations made are appreciated.

There is a small garden area with covered walk surrounding and facilities for gifts, curiosities and a large refreshment area where you can relax, have a drink or meal.

Our visit was simply great. No mob scene of people lining up to enter, and inside its as you would expect...quiet, and beautiful.

Highly recommend this venue for a visit and get away from the crowds..you'll see a gem and not be trampled in the process. Buon divertimento!!!

9  Thank Daddymeerkat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

Actually easy to get to on the Metro, a beautiful Basilica with impressive artwork and history. Once inside look up to see all the popes pictured but only room for 6 more.

1  Thank RICHARD R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2014 via mobile

Already the outside is so very beautiful. The entrance kind of prepares one for a prayerful visit and kind of provokes you into silence independent of your religion. The mystery is God's gift to humanity. Is a very beautiful with all the popes pictured just below the roof. The Paschal candle stand is worth a closer look!

3  Thank James R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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