The Basilica of San Clemente and the Excavations

San Clemente Church Rome
Photo: Briethe.

Discover 2000 years of history at the Basilica of St.Clement in Rome

The Basilica of St. Clemente is an unparalleled experience here in Rome, especially if you are on the hunt for that unique site not everybody goes to. In spite of its close proximity to the Colosseum, the church of St. Clemente is little known to tourists.

The Basilica, accompanied by its subterranean archaeological complex, stands as a true gem among the world’s treasures, adored by pilgrims, art enthusiasts, and visitors from across the globe. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself in the diverse layers of Rome’s history quite like this. It offers a unique opportunity to explore and experience the various facets of the city’s past.

My personal reasons for recommending this as a must-see are countless, starting from the breathtaking byzantine mosaic in the upper abyss of the church, which features the cross symbolizing the tree of life, with twelve doves as the apostles of Christ.

St.Clement Basilica in Rome Mosaic
Basilica San Clemente Rome

Be sure to visit the two lower levels; on the first you will find the fourth century Basilica, which was undiscovered until the late 18th century, after it had been covered with gravel around 1,100 after Christ. Then go down to the bottom level with its remains of an ancient roman house in brick from the first century after Christ and which was transformed into a Mithraeum between the second and third centuries.

san clemente mitreo

Don’t forget, the first underground level also holds the tomb of St. Clement, the fourth Pope in history after St. Peter, St. Linus and St. Anacletus, and the tomb of St. Cyril, the founder of the Slavonic literature.



Via Labicana, 95 (Colosseo)

Opening time

Mon-Sat: 10am-12.30pm & 3pm-5.30pm
Sun 12pm-5.30pm

Opening time (from June 1st to October 31st)

Mon-Sat: 9am-12.30pm & 2pm-6pm
Sun 12pm-6pm

Entrance fee

Admission to the excavations: €10


Read also:

The Best Underground Sites of Rome

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