A brief note regarding yesterday’s post, Rosh Hashanah – Giorno Uno: So I think I figured out that Pio IX Pontifici Maximo was a Pope. I saw a statue of him again at St. Peter’s. Mystery solved!
The second day of Rosh Hashanah I found myself walking to visit San Clemente, a basilica near the Colosseo, a short walk from our flat. The day was warm and sunny, so the walk was a pleasant escape. San Clemente does not allow photos to be taken inside, so my only pictures are of the outside and inner courtyard.
One of the things that make San Clemente so magnificent is that it was built between 1108 and 1184 as a replacement for an earlier church that was sacked by the Normans in 1084. It has been virtually untouched since the 12th century, so it’s medieval interior remains true to form. Below the basilica are two more levels that can be visited by paying a 5-euro fee.
The first lower level highlights the remains of the church that was constructed between the 8th and 11th centuries. It contains many preserved frescos and relics and the rebuilt supports for the church above, which is still in use today.
You can descend a level lower to visit the best preserved of the 12 uncovered Mithraic temples in Rome. Mithraism was a popular, male only pagan religion that originated in Persia and was practiced in Rome between the 1st and 4th centuries.
While excavations continue today on this lower level, it’s possible to view parts of the Mithraic temple alter and school. You can walk among what were streets and alleyways in the 1st century, and even through a home where the water still flows in a trough that was the family’s access to an ancient underground stream.
It was so exciting and humbling to be walking underground in a 1st century Roman home and through ancient alleyways. On my walk home, I finally discovered Villa Ceila Montana, a lovely park, which hosts summer concerts and borders the Colosseo.
All in all, I had a great holiday. Shana Tova to all my practicing Jewish family and friends!