Basilica di San Cesareo de Appia

The church of San Cesareo de Appia

The church of San Cesareo de Appia, commonly and erroneously called San Cesareo in Palatio, is a church in Rome, in the Celio district, near the Porta di San Sebastiano.

This church has ancient origins: it dates back to the eighth century and was built on the remains of pre-existing Roman structures, which can now be seen in the basement (remains of a mosaic floor, with marine scenes from the second century AD). It is also called by medieval sources San Cesareo in Turrim, “certainly from the proximity of some very high tower, of which the medieval city was fraught” (Armellini); with the sixteenth century the name of San Cesareo in Palatio also appears and this created a lot of confusion with the homonymous church in the Campitelli district.

Over the centuries the church changed hands several times and was renovated several times: in the 14th century it was entrusted to the Crociferi to found a hospital that gave asylum to pilgrims who entered from the nearby Porta San Sebastiano; they were replaced by the Benedictine nuns; in the 15th century it was entrusted to the care of the nearby Church of San Sisto Vecchio and then to those of the Church of Santi Nereo and Achilleo; it was completely restored in the 16th century by the Cavalier d'Arpino, and then entrusted to the Somascan Fathers. On this occasion, the 13th-century mosaics and other architectural furnishings found in the transept of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, which were being renovated at the time, were transferred here.

The church has a very sober facade with an access door preceded by a porch with granite columns. The interior has a single nave. On the side walls, between the windows, there are mosaics by Cavalier d'Arpino, with scenes from the life of San Cesareo. In the apse a mosaic depicting God the Father among the angels. The altar, the ambo, the chair, the barriers of the presbytery are architectural elements that belonged to the Basilica of San Giovanni: mostly they are composed of heterogeneous elements that date back to the thirteenth century.

The pipe organ of the church of San Cesareo de Appia was built between 1997 and 1999 by Francesco Saverio Colamarino, reusing an electric organ as a console and applying the multiple system for registers. The instrument has two keyboards of 61 notes each and a pedalboard of 32.


Timetable and tickets


Via di Porta S. Sebastiano, s.n.c.
00179 Roma


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