San Maura is a ruined late 5th century (?) church at Via di Torre Spaccata 244, in the Torre Maura zone.


The ruins are usually referred to as the Cappella di San Maura, but there is no masculine saint of that name.

The origin of the name seems to lie in the ownership of an estate on the ancient Via Labicana (now the Via Casilina). The Patrimonium Labicanum of the Patrimonium Sancti Petri (9th century catalogue of the property of the Papacy) has Fundus Mauricius at the Massa Varvariana, and this "estate belonging to Maurice" seems to be where the name comes from. It is recorded as Sanctus Maurus in the 14th century, and it is odd that the name became feminized in Italian.

History Edit

The surviving fabric indicates a 5th or 6th century date for the church. According to the Liber Pontificalis, Pope Gelasius I (492-6) dedicated a basilica to the martyrs SS Nicander, Eleutherius and Andrew at a location on the Via Labicana called Villa Pertusa. There is no evidence that this was here, but the guess can be made.

However, there is a strong rumour that building development in 1980 illegally destroyed a small set of catacombs in the immediate vicinity. If true, this hints at a martyrs' shrine.

Apperance Edit

The present ruin occupies the street frontage of a smallish communal garden associated with an adjacent apartment block. What is left is a semi-circular sanctuary apse, and the far walls of the main body of the church to either side.

The church was originally basilical, having a central nave with side aisles ("three naves", in Italian parlance). If the Roman Capitale web-page is accurate, the plan was a transverse rectangle measuring 14.8 by 17.6 metres. The aisles were separated by piers bearing arches, and there seems to have been vaulting. The remnants of the latter contain amphorae, or pottery jars inserted to lighten the fabric.

The walling is in so-called opus listatum, comprising courses of tufo stone separated by single courses of red brick giving a striped effect.

External links Edit

Info.roma web-page

"Monteverdelegge" blog page

"Roma Capitale" web-page 

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