With a history dating back to the 4th century, the Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Clelio is among the oldest in Rome and, despite its rather unremarkable façade, boasts a fascinating history. The church was built on the site of the Case Romane, allegedly the former home and burial site of Roman soldiers and converted Christians John and Paul, who were beheaded at the hand of Emperor Julian the Apostate.
Today, the fabled church, extensively restored in the 12th century, stands atop Celian Hill and is acclaimed for its lavishly decorated interiors, adorned with striking frescos and glittering chandeliers. The real highlight though, lies beneath the church – the excavated ruins of the ancient Claudianum and the Case Romane, which offer a fascinating glimpse into Roman life.
Santi Giovanni e Paolo is located on Piazza dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo in central Rome and is open daily from 8am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm.