Behind an ancient wall, set back in a secluded garden, lies one of the most unique churches in Rome: the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo. It’s flat exterior belies a circular plan unusual for any church and especially one built in the mid 5th century. Thought to be constructed along the curve of the Macellum Magnum, Emperor Nero’s marketplace, the church may actually have been inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. Don’t miss the gruesome images of the torture of well-known martyrs frescoed on the interior wall at the end of the 16th century. Each painting has an inscription explaining the scene and giving the name of the emperor who ordered the execution, as well as a quotation from the Bible.
Santo Stefano is the National church in Rome of Hungary.
Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo, 7 (Caelian Hill)
9:30am-12:30pm, 2pm-5pm, closed Monday