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Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

#54 of 522 in Historic Sites in Rome
Religious Site · Historic Site
An off-the-beaten-path church in Rome, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere stands atop the former home of a wealthy woman martyred in the 3rd century. The exact story of Santa Cecilia's life and martyrdom is unclear, but she likely lived from 175 to 250 CE. Inside the church, discover the statue underneath the altar, which depicts the martyr's body exactly as it was found in 1599 after exhumation. If you look closely you'll notice the three severe axe cuts in her neck, modelled accurately by sculptor Stefano Maderno who was present when the tomb was opened, and whose promise to record the body as found reads on a marble slab in front of the statue. The relatively bland exterior of the church hides the graphic recreation of Cecilia's body, as well as mosaics, murals, and impressive columns. Venture below the church to tour the remains of Cecilia's Roman home. Using our online itinerary creator, Rome attractions like Santa Cecilia in Trastevere can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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407 reviews
  • I loved visiting this old church. It's said to have been built over a saint named Cecilia who was martyred. It's worth the visit if you are in Trastavere. We arrived when it was still light and...  more »
  • St. Cecilia is a 5th century church dedicated to St. Cecilia, the saint of musicians. The church was built over the house of the saint. Make sure you go underground! It is in a very old section of.....  more »
  • As a musician visiting Rome I had to come here. Lovely little church off the beaten track. No queues (apart from waiting for it to reopen after siesta!), free entry, less strict rules for entry than other churches.
  • Church dedicated to one of the greatest saints, very nice and quiet place
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