The Basilica of San Vitale is a church in the Via Nazionale in Rome. It is located right next to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, several meters below the present street level. The official name of this church is Santi Vitale e Compagni Martiri in Fovea. The “compagni” are Valeria, Gervase and Protase.
San Vitale Basilica Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Nazionale 194/B – Rome (District: Monti). Telephone: +39 064823338. Public transport: Bus: 40, 64. Opening hours: 07.45-13.00 en 16.00-19.00 uur. Admission: Gratis.
History and description
The Basilica di San Vitale is very old. It started its existence in the 4th century as an oratorium dedicated to the saints Gervasio and Protasio. These two Milanese martyrs were the sons of Saint Vitale and his wife Valeria.
The basilica was dedicated in the year 402.
In the course of the centuries several restorations altered the original architecture of the church. The first of these took place under Pope Leo III. Further modifications were added during the middle ages and a major reconstruction took place during the reign of Popes Sixtus IV and Clemens VIII.
The oldest part of the church still standing is the portico, which probably stems from the 5th century. The steps leading down to this portico from the Via Nazionale were added in the 19th century.
The church consists of a single nave and is therefore much more spacious than one would expect before entering.
The 5th century apse is decorated with a fresco painted by Andrea Commodi.
Four altars in the church are remnants of the 5th century version of the basilica.
The interior walls are also decorated with frescoes. The main theme of these paintings is martyrdom.