Home to one of the oldest churches in the world, the colorful Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina looks at first to be simply high end shops and outdoor cafes. Yet hidden behind a simple facade is the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Lucina, which has been standing since the fourth century. It is believed to have been built on an ancient well that was once tribute to the Roman goddess Juno. Once built, the church was dedicated to Saint Lawrence, a Roman martyr, and now functions as a Roman Catholic parish and minor basilica.
The church has been restored over and over throughout the centuries, so there are layers of history apparent in its detailed architecture. Everything from Roman columns to a Romanesque bell tower and a 12th-century portico can be seen from the outside. The interior is largely Baroque in style. Highlights include Guido Reni’s Crocifisso (Crucifixion) at the main altar and various busts by Bernini located in the chapels.
The Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina and its church are located just off the Via del Corso. The church is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, with access to the ruins costing 2 euro.