Churches of Rome Wiki

San Crisogono is a 12th century parish, titular and conventual church, and a minor basilica. Its postal address in Piazza Sonnino 44 in Trastevere, on the corner of the Viale di Trastevere (the former Viale del Re) and Via della Lungaretta, one of the ancient main streets of Trastevere. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons here. There is an English Wikipedia page here.

The complex includes remains of a 4th century church edifice.

The dedication is to the martyr St Chrysogonus.



The first documentary reference to the church is as one of the tituli, with its priest in the list of signatories to the acts of the Roman synod in 499. The tituli were the original parish churches of the city, and this one has remained a parish church from then to the present day.

The church was then known as the Titulus Chrysogoni. This has traditionally been taken to refer to an obscure martyr of Aquileia near Venice called St Chrysogonus, who is thought to have been martyred at the start of the 4th century. However, the Roman church might have been founded by a different benefactor called Chrysogonus, with the link to the saint being made later when his relics were enshrined here (perhaps at the start of the 5th century). 

Whatever, the saint became popular enough in Rome for his name to be inserted into the Roman Canon of the Mass, where it remains. 

The legend making the saint a Roman, and associating him with St Anastasia, is a work of fiction.

The archaeological evidence provided by the original church indicates that it contained a shrine, and so it has been postulated that some of the saint's relics were venerated here from the 5th century. However, the received story concerning his relics place them in the Croatian city of Zadar in the early Middle Ages. He is patron of the city, and there is an old church there dedicated to him. The Venetians stole them in 1204, and they are allegedly now at the church of San Trovaso in Venice.

Original church underground[]

The original church, now over five metres below the present one, was not discovered until 1907. This was during a renovation of the present church, which sits on top of part of it. Its fabric is largely composed of brick, mortar, and tufelli (square tufa blocks set in mortar), and the different styles of construction have enabled the archaeologists to established a chronology of building work. Some fresco work of the Dark Ages were found well preserved, although they have deteriorated since.

There are two rival interpretations of the archaeological evidence. The more persuasive one dates the Christian occupation of the site to the early 4th century, but some archaeologists point out that there is no actual evidence of Christian activity before the late 6th century and suggest that the apsidal building was originally a school or lecture hall.

Ancient times[]

The locality of the church was, in ancient Roman times, heavily populated and the site itself was on the Via Aurelia (the present Via della Lungaretta). There are very limited parts of the old church's fabric in opus quadratum, which involves blocks of tufa stone laid in courses. These are to be found in the apse area and outside the original entrance, and are of Republican date. The remains are too scanty to enable any guesses as to the form of the buildings concerned. 

Areas of brickwork (opus latericum), again limited in extent, are to be found in the apse area which are datable to the 2nd century and seem to relate to a fairly high-status private house, part of which was converted into a church in the 4th century.

4th century[]

The conversion into a church possibly happened in the early 4th century. Pope Sylvester I (314–335) is suggested as the one responsible, but this is an educated guess since the archaeological evidence does not allow a precise date.

The remaining brick walls of this phase in the building's history delineate what is now two-thirds of the nave from the entrace, and indicate an irregular rectangular structure. However the wall which would have made up the fourth side of the rectangle around the entrance has left no trace, so we do not know exactly how long this building was. The left hand side wall is at an angle to the major axis, so that the building widened out towards the present apse. The old church kept this peculiarity throughout its life.

5th century[]

The early 5th century work involves the apse, a pair of rooms flanking it, the side walls of the third of the nave near the apse and two limited areas in the entrance wall. These remains are in a building style called opus listatum, also known as opus vittatum, which involves alternate layers of brick and tufa blocks. This style is characteristic of the period.

In the process the church was substantially extended, and provided with a semi-circular apse separated from the main body of the church by a screen wall. This is thought to have been when relics of St Chrysogonus were brought to Rome and enshrined here (although there is no documentary evidence surviving for this). The room to the left of the apse was a baptistry (although there has been debate about its function).

The building was also provided with a monumental arcaded entrance with three arches, opening from a narthex.

Middle Ages[]

The resulting church was renovated several times in subsequent centuries, as can again be deduced from its fabric and the surviving frescoes. It received attention sometime in the 6th or 7th century, when a decorative fresco cycle was executed having motifs of painted drapery (vela) and a jewelled cross. Part of this has been traced on the left hand side wall. A similar decorative scheme existed in the baptistry at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere nearby.

A major re-fitting was ordered in about 731 by Pope Gregory III. This work was documented, and the pope is described as providing a new roof and frescoes for the nave walls and apse. He also ordered the digging of a confessio or devotional crypt, with two entrances flanking the high altar. The arrangement was that pilgrims entered one door, venerated the relics in the crypt and left by the other door. 


The pope also founded a monastery next door, to the south, which was to have a long history under various religious orders. Its original dedication was Sancti Stephani, Laurentii et Chrysogoni, and in order to preserve its integrity the pope specified that the abbot was not to be under the authority of the titular priest of the church. The first monks were of the Byzantine rite, as most were in Rome in the 8th century.

The existence of Byzantine-rite Greek monks in Rome was maliciously written out of the historical record later in the Middle Ages, and it was pretended that monastic life in Rome was Benedictine from the early 7th century. This is completely false, but the pretence is still to be met with in modern publications.

The monastery was occupied by Benedictines sometime in the 10th century, as this is the century when they arrived in Rome in reality. They added a fresco cycle featuring scenes from the life of St Benedict to the right hand wall of the church.

New church[]

In 1123 Cardinal John of Crema abandoned the old church, removed the roof and the walls above five metres, packed the interior with earth and built a new one on the resulting site, just to the north with a small amount of overlap. It is speculated that flooding from the Tiber River, or a celebration of his recent defeat of the antipope Gregory VIII (or both) led the cardinal to order this project. His views on the subject have not survived.

In 1129 a Romanesque bell tower was added to the edifice, keeping it in the architectural fashion displayed by other contemporary twelfth century Roman churches.

At the end of the 12th century monastic life here had collapsed, and it is recorded in 1200 that the church was being administered by a college of secular priests. The Benedictine monks in Rome had become disgracefully corrupt at this time, living the life of secular nobility, and as a result they lost the greater number of the churches that they administered.

The secular priests probably did little better, as by 1480 they had been supplanted by the Canons of the Lateran. In 1489, the complex was granted to the Calced Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at the suggestion of Cardinal Girolamo Basso della Rovere.


Under the care of the friars, in the next two centuries the parish had a flourishing devotional life, and one sign of this was the large oratory of Santa Maria del Carmine in Trastevere which was built opposite the entrance in 1627. This has now been demolished. The original devotion leading to the confraternity which built the oratory was to a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which is now to be found in the neighbouring church of Sant'Agata in Trastevere.

The church had one major Baroque restoration in 1620 by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Cardinal Scipione Borghese as part of his enormous church building and restoration programme. Features of this Baroque restoration include an ornate ceiling, and an alteration of the Cosmatesque pavement.

The ceiling is lavishly covered in gold, and was a very expensive item. It is speculated that the Borghese was in competition with his cardinal-uncle, Aldobrandini, who not long before had spent a large sum of money to construct a similar ceiling in the nearby church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Modern times[]

The complex was taken from the Carmelites by Pope Pius IX in 1847, and given into the care of the Discalced Trinitarians. You may see their emblem of a red and blue cross here and there, the result of subsequent restorations the first of which was in 1855 and again in 1865.

In common with all other monasteries and convents, the Trinitarians lost the freehold of the property to the new Italian government in 1873. However they have remained in charge, and built a new convent in a neo-Renaissance style to the left of the church in 1925. The architect was Raffaele Ojetti, who unfortunately died in the year before completion. 

The building of the Viale di Trastevere in 1880 destroyed the basilica's picturesque piazza (lately named Largo di San Giovanni de Matha), as well as its companion oratory. However, the parish has expanded to cover the whole of eastern Trastevere as smaller parishes have been suppressed and consolidated.

The basilica remains very much a working church, but at the beginning of the 21st century was in need of further extensive restoration. The roof in particular is causing serious concern (2013).


The previous cardinal was Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, who died in August 2012. The present cardinal priest is Andrew Yeom Soo-jung who was appointed in 2014.


Layout and fabric[]

The plan of the church is that of a classic basilica with a transept and apse. The exterior fabric is in brick.

Firstly, there is an external loggia with a cross-vault and a flat ceiling, which is not structurally part of the basilica. Then comes a central nave with side aisles, having twelve bays. The campanile is adjacent to the bottom of the right hand aisle, and halfway up the right hand side wall on the other side of the campanile is a side entrance. This has an impressive doorcase, with a pair of ribbed Corinthian columns supporting a broken segmental pediment with modillions. The shield of the Trinitarian order is above.

The sanctuary occupies the transept, which is as wide as the nave and aisles. This has an internal segmental apse, flanked by a pair of chapels on a square plan and backed by a far wall. A suite of very small rooms occupies the space between the curve of the apse and this far exterior wall of the church, but the apse is higher than it. If you go round to the Via di San Gallicano, you can see the exterior wall of the apse peeping out at an elevated level, with decorative brick dentillations on the cornice.

There is only one external side chapel, off the left hand aisle just before it enters the transept. The main sacristy is also external, through a door in the left hand wall of the transept.


The campanile dates from the 12th century rebuilding, and is a typical Romanesque example in brick although less adorned than some others. There are six storeys. The first storey is twice the height of the others, and is blank brickwork. The subsequent storeys show a typical developing arciform design feature on each side. The second and third have a row of three equal-sized round-headed intaglios, then comes the fourth with a pair of arched apertures with hood molding continued as a string course, then the fifth with three such apertures. The sixth storey, where the bells are, has two pairs of such apertures with each pair separated by a limestone column.

The tower has an impressive tall pyramidal cap, almost amounting to a spire.

The groundplan is actually irregular; the outside angle nearest the façade is slightly obtuse.


The façade of the church is from the 1620 restoration.

There is a monumental external narthex, with four red marble Doric  pillars (with squashed capitals) at the entrance and two kiosks with an arch each flanked by rectangular pilasters in shallow relief. Above these is a frieze bearing an inscription commemorating Scipio Borghese for restoring the church, with the year 1626. There is a segmental pediment above the central portal, and slightly behind this a low wall crowns the façade of the narthex, bearing urns and the eagles of the Borghese family. 

The actual nave façade behind the narthex is best viewed from the other side of the road. It has four swagged Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature and pediment, and in the pediment is a relief of two cornucopias with a cross in red and blue between them. This is the symbol of the Trinitarian order. In between the inner pair of pilasters is a rectangular window crowned by a blank semi-circular tympanum and then a segmental pediment, with swags and a putto's head between the two.

The wrought iron railings occupying the portals of the narthex repay examination. The ones occupying the archways in the side kiosks show the Trinitarian cross flanked by draped chains, which is a reminder that this religious congregation was founded in order to ransom captives enslaved by Muslim pirates from North Africa.



San Crisogono floor plan.png

The aspect of the present church interior is the result of the rebuilding in the 1620's. The plan comprises a central nave with two aisles, separated by twenty-two Ionic columns (eleven on each side). The capitals are 17th century and are in stucco, but the columns themselves are ancient and must have come from a very high-status building. They are a matching set in granite from Egypt, the grey ones being from Mons Claudianus in the Eastern Desert and the red ones from Aswan. Their original quarrying and delivery to Rome was a stupendously expensive business.

The triumphal arch is supported by a pair of magnificent monolithic porphyry columns also from the Eastern Desert in Egypt (the quarry was called Mons Porphyrites). This pair of columns support the ends of entablatures supported directly by the columns; this arrangement, without arcade arches, is called a trabeation and was very old-fashioned even in ancient Rome. The builders in the 12th century obviously wanted to use the granite columns, which would have been too long for arcades -the church roof would have been too high otherwise.

This pair of porphyry columns is claimed to be the largest surviving intact ones in Rome (fragments of larger columns have been found).

Above the entablatures, which have friezes decorated with foliage and projecting cornices with curved corbels, is a row of six rectangular windows on each side. In between these are panels for frescoes, which were never executed.


The floor in the nave and aisles is Cosmatesque, and is one of the best of that style in Rome. In the 17th century restoration, this floor was repaired. In the process, some of the porphyry discs near the sanctuary were replaced by the Borghese family emblems of a dragon or an eagle in mosaic, a vanity which has led to sour comment then and since. It doesn't help that the mosaic work is not very good.


The flat wooden ceiling is gorgeously carved and gilded. The original painting in the central panel was by Gian Francesco Barbieri (nicknamed Il Guercino), and depicted the Apotheosis of Saint Chrysogonus. What is there now is a copy, inserted after the original was looted at the start of the French occupation of Rome in 1808. The painting was sold on to London, where it was inserted into the ceiling of the so-called Long Gallery in what is now Lancaster House. This building now functions as a hospitality suite for the British government. A photo of the original painting in its present location is here.  

The other two panels depict the coat-of-arms of Cardinal Scipione Borghese.


The triumphal arch leads into the sanctuary, which has its own coffered ceiling in the same style as the nave one. The central panel shows The Child Jesus Asleep on the Lap of Our Lady, and is by the Cavalier d'Arpino.

The high altar itself was dedicated in 1127, and encloses the contemporary reliquary of St Chrysogonus which is in a glass box. You can see this through orifices in the front and back of the altar, which are protected by crossed thorn branches in gilded bronze. The baldacchino or ciborium is by Soria, and is in the form of a tempietto or domed aedicule. It includes four antique columns in yellow alabaster, with capitals in an exaggeratedly decorated Ionic style. Above these are figures of putti, and more putti disport themselves in the fresco in the inner saucer dome.

The columns probably came from the mediaeval ciborium, and possibly from the altar in the old church now underground.

On the wall of the apse behind the altar is a delicate mosaic representation of The Madonna and Child Venerated by SS Chrysostom and James. This was placed here by Soria, but was originally of the school of Pietro Cavallini and was commissioned for the church around the end of the 13th century. It might have been by the master himself, but this is still disputed. The frame was provided by Soria; it is suspected that the mosaic work was once more extensive.

The impressive wooden stalls on either side of the mosaic are from the 1865 restoration, and the delicate figurative carving of the panels is worth examining. The work is by Francesco Fontana. In the conch of the arch above are three stucco relief panels showing scenes from the life of St Chrysogonus, surrounded by rich stucco decoration.

Near the sacristy door in the left hand end of the transept is an exquisite Cosmatesque wall tabernacle frame, unfortunately somewhat damaged. Here also is to be found the original epigraph recording the rebuilding of the church in the 12th century.

Right hand aisle[]

Near the bottom end of the right hand aisle is the memorial to Cardinal Giovanni Giacomo Millo of 1757, designed by Carlo Marchionni and executed by Pietro Bracchi.

The church's baptismal font is in a niche with an iron grille. The wooden cover has figurative painting of the 19th century, and the anonymous fresco of The Holy Trinity in the niche is anonymous of the same century. The 17th century pictures here are worth a glance. They are, as you go along the aisle: SS Barbara and Catherine and St Albert by Paolo Guidotti ; The Three Archangels (Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) by Giovanni da San Giovanni; St Frances of Rome, and a Crucifixion again by Guidotti. The last is the altarpiece of a side altar.

Towards the far end is a memorial to Pasquino Corsi, 1567.

Poli Chapel[]

The chapel at the end of the right hand aisle was allegedly remodelled by Bernini, and the marble busts on the monuments to two members of the Poli family are of his school. Buried here are Gaudenzio Poli (1672) and Cardinal Fausto Poli (1653), and the monuments form a matching pair.

The chapel is dedicated to the Guardian Angels, and the altarpiece featuring one used to be by Ludovico Gimignani . His father, Giacinto Gimignani, decorated the vault. However the altarpiece has been replaced by an anonymous 18th century work depicting The Coronation of Our Lady Witnessed by SS John of Matha and Felix of Valois. Despite this, the frieze of the aedicule of the altar still bears the epigraph Ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus ("Behold, I am with you all days"), which refers to the former altarpiece.

The vault is a saucer dome with incorporated spandrels, and the fresco depicts The Trinity and Our Lady Worshipped by Angels.

Left hand aisle[]

In this aisle is a Madonna and Child (Madonna del Buon Rimedio) painted by Giovanni Battista Conti in 1944 as a thanksgiving for the destruction of the Second World War mostly passing Rome by -except for the British air raid which damaged San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. (The British authorities didn't care about the artistic treasures of the city, and wanted to area-bomb it; the Americans did, and prevented them). It is the object of devotion by people of the parish, and is in a lush and realistic neo-Byzantine style.

In this aisle is also an anonymous 18th century portrait of St John of Matha, one of the founders of the Trinitarians.

Chapel of Jesus the Nazarene[]

The chapel at the end of the left hand aisle is dedicated to Jesus Christ. It has a statue of him for an altarpiece, showing him bound after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This chapel was fitted out and decorated in a neo-Baroque style in 1855. The lunettes on the side walls show the redemption of captives by saints of the Trinitarian order, while the dome fresco is of Christ in glory venerated by the order's saints. The large oculus has the red and blue cross emblem again.

Here is a monument to Eugenia Caetani, of 1853.

Chapel of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi[]

Off the left hand aisle is the shrine of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, which occupies an external chapel with a little dome which was originally dedicated to Our Lady.

She was a Sienese domestic servant married to a butler working for the Chigi family, had seven children and had to put up with much brutality from her husband during her life as an ordinary Trastevere working-class houswife. Nevertheless, she gained the reputation of great holiness and churchmen of high rank used to ask her advice. She was buried here in the habit of a tertiary of the Trinitarians after her death in 1837, and was beatified in 1920. The corpse as displayed in a glass case beneath the altar is a waxwork, containing her bones.

You can see some of her belongings in the adjacent monastery, where they are kept as relics and have been described memorably as a collection of "old lady's things". Even ordinary old ladies can be saints.

The altarpiece is a 19th century Madonna and Child. The dome above is divided into four sectors by ribs, and these contain 19th century frescoes. One of them has bee re-painted to show Bl Anna being welcomed into heaven by the Trinity and Our Lady. The original fresco work was by Giovanni Liveruzzi, who also executed the large lunettes on the side walls. These depict Our Lady appearing to SS John of Matha and Felix of Valois in visions.


Souvenirs have been known to be sold in the sacristy, but there is no proper shop. You get into the underground excavations from here.

A tondo shows The Soldier St Chrysostom Being Crowned with the Victor's Laurels, and is by Aronne Del Vecchio (1910-98). Here there is also a copy of the famous 13th century gateway mosaic of Christ Redeeming Slaves at San Tommaso in Formis, the first Trinitarian convent in Rome.

A large collection of relics is on display here.

Palaeochristian church[]


The access to the underground remains of the old church is via a metal staircase from the south end of the sacristy. The ruins are confusing at first sight, but the church originally had a simple layout. Rather than the normal basilical plan with a central nave and two aisles at the sides, it had a single nave.

"Left hand" and "right hand" are used below in the standard way, as if you were at the main entrance to the church nave.

You exit the staircase at what was the right hand side of a large semi-circular external apse attached to an aisleless nave. A pair of rooms flanks the apse. The archaeologists excavated the left hand side wall of the nave for about two thirds of its length from the left hand side of the apse, also the entire length of the right hand side wall. Then they excavated a narthex outside the church's main entrance, and a small section of the left hand side wall from the left hand corner of the narthex.

The unexcavated area in the middle of the nave, and the modern brick arches there, are to stop the modern convent building above from falling in.

Relationship to new church[]

The old church is not under the newer church, but (as just mentioned) is beneath the convent building to the south.

The far wall of the nave, from which the apse curves, is exactly in line with the same feature in the newer church above. The old church, with its narthex, is just slightly shorter than the newer church without its loggia, but is narrower because of the lack of side aisles.

The left hand external wall of the newer church overlaps the old church. Obviously there could not be excavation under this, so when you follow the right hand side wall of the old church you will be in a passage with the foundations of the newer church's external wall on the other side.


The apse and the side walls at the far end of the church are in a style of construction called opus listatum, also known as opus vittatum, which involves alternate layers of brick and tufa blocks. This is characteristic of the late 4th or early 5th century, when the church was substantially enlarged, and consists of layers of tufa blocks sandwiched between courses of brick.

Here you can also see the layout of the crypt and shrine, provided in the 8th century for pilgrims. The devotional access is a corridor running round the line of the apse, and a central corridor running perpendicular to it. The latter has a worn 8th century fresco (which is continuing to deteriorate -note the algal growth). This features St Chrysogonus and two others who feature in his fictional legend: SS Anastasia and Rufus.

The corridors isolate two segment-shaped sets of walling. The right hand one contains one of the scanty remains of late Republican edifices to be found down here.

Left hand side wall[]

The left hand or south wall of the nave is over to your right as you look away from the apse at the bottom of the staircase. You get there by following the apse corridor. It  has fresco remnants of different eras. The earlier composition consists of folded hanging drapery, in one place embellished with a jewelled cross which represents the True Cross in Jerusalem (to be accurate, its reliquary case). This dates from the 6th century, and is the earliest unambiguous evidence of Christian activity on the site.

The figurative frescoes date from the 8th century re-ordering, and include portraits of three saints in roundels. One of them is thought to be Pope Sixtus II.

You can see a joint in the wall, where the opus listatum changes to ordinary brickwork. The latter dates to the 4th century, and is part of the putative original church hall which only extended as far as here from the entrance.

There are pagan sarcophagi in this area. The first one on the left features fine carvings of standing figures which are pagan muses, and has griffins at its ends. This was found in the baptistry (see below). The second is beyond the drop in the floor, and features strigillate (s-shaped) decoration with a portrait of the deceased in a tondo in the centre.

Some of the original slab flooring is preserved here, with an early 6th century grave slab of someone called Victor. Other epigraphs and fragments of tomb slabs can be found propped up or fixed to the walls, including the lower part of an early mediaeval figure and one with Greek text. A famous one shows a skull with enormous ears.

The vegetation growing below the ventilation aperture is a stark reminder of the unsatisfactory conservation status of this site.


On either side of the apse are rooms known in the Byzantine rite as pastophoria, which are liturgical service rooms of a type uncommon in the West but normal in Eastern churches. However, care needs to be taken in interpreting the plan of this church with reference to the Byzantine rite, since it is thought that pastophoria only came into use in the mid 6th century or after the church was extended.

In a modern Byzantine rite church the left hand room is called the prothesis, where the Eucharistic bread and wine are prepared for Mass and where holy relics are kept. However, the room here has been interpreted (not without some dissent) as a 5th century baptistry. A number of sunken basins were found here during the first excavations, including a large one cut in half by a later wall to the south (facing the apse). The other two basins found here are not now visible.

As the plan is so untypical of what is otherwise known of early Roman churches, some believe that the room originally had a different function. The presence of several basins could mean that the room was originally a fullonica, a laundry or dye-house (the Latin word actually means "fuller's establishment", but oddly Classical Latin had no word for "laundry"). The area was a commercial district at the time, so this is quite likely. 

Others think that the basin in the south wall was originally made for baptism by immersion, and point out evidence for steps which those being baptized could have used. However, it may very well have been used as a baptismal font after the original house had been consecrated as a church -and the original laundry taken over as a baptistry. Evidence of a separate entrance door supports this hypothesis.

This room is used as an antica or store-house for archaeological discoveries, so unfortunately it is usually kept locked. It would benefit from further archaeological investigation, especially in order to find out what is behind the mediaeval south wall.


The one on the right-hand side is though to have been used as a secretarium (modern Byzantine diaconicon), with functions resembling those of the sacristy in later churches.

The fragmentary floor here is interesting. It is of opus sectile, incorporating white marble tesserae and green serpentine roundels in a floral pattern and dates from the 6th or 7th century.

A finely carved sarcophagus, featuring tritons nereids flanking a bust of the deceased within a scallop shell, was originally found in here.

Right hand side wall[]

More traces of frescoes dating from the 8th or (more likely( 10th centuries are on the right hand side wall. Distinguishable scenes are Pope Sylvester Capturing the Dragon, St Pantaleon Healing a Blind Man, St Benedict Healing a Leper and The Rescue of St Placid.

Towards the narthex there is a transverse partition wall, and on this are visible the feet from a lost fresco depicting saints, thought to be 9th century


The far end of the excavation contains the church narthex. If you turn right here, you can see another patch of polychrome opus sectile flooring in a pit to the right. A fourth sarcophagus with strigillate decoration was discovered here, having the interesting feature of a blank central panel into which a portrait of the deceased could be slotted (in other words, it was made to be "off the shelf"). Old human bones have been dumped into this.

Strigillate sarcophagus.


The church doors are open (unofficial source, 2017):

Weekdays, 7:00 to 11:30, 16:00 to 19:30;

Sundays, 8:00 to 13:00, 16:00 to 19:30.

Only worshippers are allowed in the church during Mass.

Access to the old church underground costs three euros, but there are no formal ticketing arrangements. You have to catch the sacristan or custodian (please don't bother the priests). The last entry is half an hour before the church closes in the evening.


Mass is celebrated (unofficial source):

Weekdays 7:30, 9:00, 10:00, 18:00.

Sundays 8:30, 10:30. 12:00, 18:00.

The feast day of St Chrysogonus, 24 November, is also the dedication day of the church. Pilgrims and other faithful who attend Mass on this day receive a plenary indulgence.

External links[]

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Interactive Nolli Map Website

Flickr search gallery

"De Alvariis" gallery on Flickr

"De Alvariis" gallery of old church

Info.roma web-page

Roma SPQR web-page with gallery

"Romeartlover" web-page

"Rometour" web-page

"Supereva" web-page

"Tesoridiroma" web-page

"Pilgrimstorome" photo gallery

"Amicidiroma" web-page on old church

"Trasecoli" web-page on old church with plan

Roman Despatches blog with gallery


Hill, Michael. "The Patronage of a Disenfranchised Nephew: Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the Restoration of San Crisogono in Rome, 1618-1628." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 60/4 (2001): 432-49. Kinney, D. "Rome in the Twelfth Century: Urbs fracta and renovatio." Gesta. 45/2 (2006): 199-220.

Krautheimer, R. “San Crisogono.”Corpus basilicarum christianarum Romae. 1 (1937): 144-64 Priester, Ann. "Bell Towers and Building Workshops in Medieval Rome." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 52/2 (1993): 199-220.