The Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome is named for the patron saint of music, who was martyred and died around the year 230 at the site where the church was built. The murderers tried to strangle her, but when this proved impossible, she was beheaded. Highlights are Pietro Cavallini‘s frescoes and Maderno‘s statue of the saint herself.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 22 – Rome (tel. +39 06 5899289). Opening hours: The basilica itself, the crypt and the excavations are open from 10.00 till 13.00 and from 16.00 till 19.00. Cavallini’s frescoes can only be visited on weekdays, from 10.00 till 12.30. Admission: The basilica is free, the crypt is 2,50 Euros, Cavallini’s frescoes 2,50 Euros.
History and description
In the 4th century the church was constructed at the site of what might have been the saint’s former house.
In 820, centuries after her death her remains were unearthed in the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus, the Pope commissioned another church, to be built on top of the earlier one. The walls of the first Santa Cecilia church are still visible and so are the ruins of a leather tannery.
The portico and bell-tower were added in the 12th century.
The church was restored in the 18th century. Ferdinando Fuga‘s facade stems from that period (1725).
The remains of the saints Cecilia and Valerian (her husband) are buried in the cosmateque crypt.
Works of art in the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
The 13th century frescoes, including the “Last Judgment”, were made by Pietro Cavallini.
The marble statue in front of the altar is the work of Stefano Maderno and is supposed to have been modeled on Cecilia‘s body at the moment her tomb was opened.
The Gothic ciborium (1293) was made by Arnolfo di Cambio.
The apse contains the remains of 9th century mosaics.
The altar pieces “Decapitation of Saint Cecilia” and “The Saints Valerian and Cecilia” were done by Guido Reni.