Basilica di Santa Prassede

Basilica di Santa Prassede, Rome

Basilica di Santa Prassede
Churches & Cathedrals
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7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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1,227 reviews
Very good

Sioux Falls, SD92 contributions
Jan 2022
Santa Prassede is very near to Santa Maria Maggiore - and by "very near," I'm talking a matter of a block or two - but is very easy to miss.
This Basilica is on the more aged side for Rome, at least in the sense that the older interior decorations were not majorly modified to suit more Renaissance or Baroque taste. The apse is decorated in a wonderful mosaic as are some of the side chapels, including the chapel that contains base of the flagellation column. The layout of the church also follows the ancient Roman basilican order which we associate with churches, but arose out of Roman public architecture. While one would have originally entered from the rear of the church (as we do at San Pietro, San Giovanni, etc), the current entrance is now off a side aisle.
Additionally, the Basilica had the BEST nativity of all those that we saw in Rome (which was no small amount) as they had some animation and lighting effects - the sky in the background changed from sunrise to sunset and into nighttime, which encouraged us to hang out for longer than typical to observe.
Written January 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kristine N
9 contributions
Jan 2020
This church is just around the corner from the larger Santa Maria Maggiore, but it is worth seeking out. The mosaics are stunning. We didn't know it at the time, but for a euro, you could turn the lights on to get a better view. Seeing the church in the dim light gives you a better appreciation for how they originally looked and makes you wonder how the artists made the mosaics without flood lights.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Paul F
Latrobe, PA37 contributions
Jul 2020
This small basilica is hidden on a side street in the shadow of Santa Maria Maggiore. It contains the most stunning Byzantine mosaics in all of Rome. Don't miss it! And don't hesitate to feed coins into the meters to light up the mosaics to their best advantage - some of them can barely be seen without the lights, and all of them are worth the few Euros it will cost you.

Full Disclosure: I did not visit in July 2020, when Italy was in full lockdown. I have visited every time I've been in Rome over the years, and it is always a breathtaking experience!
Written June 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Monaco32,110 contributions
Apr 2021 • Friends
If we happen to be nearby, we never fail to visit the basilica and the chapel of St. Zeno.
It is a splendid church in the center of Rome and absolutely unexpected, given the almost hidden main entrance.
Beautifully decorated, it was finished more than 1200 years ago, in 817 AD. C., and has an extremely particular relic, which can only be admired by visiting the basilica.
It is a part of a column which is believed to have been the column to which Jesus suffered the scourging.
Beautiful is the apse with its wonderful mosaics.
The Cosmatesque floor is unique and extraordinary.
Every time we go back, we always try to discover new elements and details that we could not admire in the previous visit.
It is a gem that you absolutely must visit.
Written April 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hong Kong, China146,637 contributions
Feb 2012 • Couples
Tucked into a tiny and quiet corner of an alley street across from the much larger and famous Santa Maria Maggiore, is the very impressive, 8th century church called Santa Prassede, with its beautiful Byzantine mosaic work and well preserved, wall-to-wall frescoes, some over a millennium in age.

It is the collection of mosaics that get much of the attention within Santa Prassede and they are well deserving. However, what impresses us most with Santa Prassede is the quality of preservation of the wall to wall fresco cycles, some possibly dating back to the 8th century, found in throughout the church nave. For those not able to visit the masterpiece work of the Bancacci Chapel (Florence), this is probably our favorite fresco work in Rome. Its just superb, making it easy to spend lots of time in Santa Prassede admiring this small church.

This very impressive church visit, like many others is free and you can take pictures inside. What a blessing and what a precious place for the city of Rome. Anywhere else in the world, Santa Passade would routinely be considered a top 5 'Must See' attraction. In Rome, it is drowned in a sea of wonderful and magnificent churches and infrequently visited, making it one of cities hidden gems to visitors, if we can really call it that.

Having visited Rome more times than we can count, we include Santa Prassede as one of our Top Five churches in the city. It is a must see for us, and will always be included on our short list of 'must repeat' visits when in Rome. In addition, its worth your time to visit the more famous Santa Maria Maggiore just across the street from Santa Passed

Hint: Its quite dark inside and for very good reason. Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult to take photos inside this church due to the very low light conditions. Slow down your shutter speed and take a deep breath before making pictures, hold as still as you can to maximize the quality of those you take inside. Or just turn the camera off and enjoy what you are seeing! That works just as well.
Written March 25, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Monaco32,110 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
A hidden gem just steps away from Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Santa Prassede is a 9th-century basilica with glorious Byzantine mosaics in the apse and filling a side chapel.
Also here is a piece of the scourging column of Christ, brought from Constantinople in the Middle Ages, relics from the catacombs in the crypt, and a monument by a 17-year-old Bernini.
St. Prassede (or Praxedes) was the sister of St. Pudenziana and daughter of Pudens, in whose house St. Peter reportedly stayed while in Rome.
There is a small coloured statue of St Pressede protected by a glass case, just next to the main entrance door. Next to the galass case, during the Christmas period and for some time afterwards, you will find a nice crib with nativity scenes.
There are two entrances to the church: the eastern, secondary entrance, located on the side of the right nave, is on a side street (Via di Santa Prassede) just down the main road (Via Merulana) from Santa Maria Maggiore, and this one is the entrance that everyone uses.
The ideal would be to approach the church from the main, southern entrance on Via di San Martino ai Monti. The latter takes you past the original 9th-century façade of the basilica, which is not visible from the street, is inside a quadrangular courtyard bordered by residential buildings.
Access to the open space is through Via di San Martino ai Monti with the original 'prothyrum' (a portico, a vestibule, a porch) supported by two bare columns and topped by a loggia in a sober baroque style added in the XVI century. This main entrance has long been closed.
The current church dates from the early 9th century. Pope Paschal I (817-824) erected this basilica to replace the decaying 5th-century church and to house the neglected remains of saints that he had removed from the abandoned catacombs. He also included a funerary chapel for his mother Theodora.
The plan of the church is the typical basilica style of the earliest Roman churches, based particularly on the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter, before the Renaissance and Baroque changes and additions.
The interior is divided into three naves (five were those of the Vatican basilica) separated by large granite columns.
The large naves make up the central body of the church.
The naves are surrounded by what remains of beautiful frescoes and host the benches facing the altar.
The basilica plan also consists of a transept and a finely decorated apse.
The neo-cosmatesque style floor is a remake of the last century and, in the central part of the church, has a disc of red porphyry which covers the ancient well where martyr Prassede would have placed the blood and the bones of the Christian martyrs persecuted by emperor Antonino Pio.
What leaves visitors speechless is, of course, the presence of the mosaics that decorate the apse, the triumphal Arch, the altar and the chapel of San Zeno, located in the right nave.
The apse is entirely covered with Byzantine mosaic tiles and they are a depiction of scenes from the book of the Apocalypse.
The San Zenon chapel is the most important Byzantine monument in the city, strongly desired by Pope Pasquale I (Paschal I) as a mausoleum for his mother Theodora.
The chapel, in form of Greek cross, has its vault completely covered with gold mosaics: the most exquisite mosaic chapel that exists in Rome, whose architecture refers to the chapels in Ravenna.
The most impressive of the mosaics is the one right on the ceiling, representing the Christ Pantocrator.
The Virgin and Child, Saint Prassede, her sister St Pudenziana and their brother Saints Timothy and Novate are represented in the inner ring of medallions. The outer ring shows Christ and the apostles.
Inside the chapel of San Zeno, in a small alcove to the right of the entrance, lies the reliquary of the column of the scourging of Jesus,(the pillar to which Christ was tied as he was scourged before the crucifixion), now protected by a glass case.
The column is said to have been brought here in 1223 from Jerusalem under Pope Honorius III, following the wars that the Crusaders had sustained in the Holy Land.
Even without any art knowledge, the shapes of the mosaic tiles, the colors and the peculiar face rendition of the characters represented draw you back to a time that is lightyears away from both the grandeur of imperial Rome and elaborate splendor of Baroque times and make this chapel one of a kind in Rome.
Notheworthy also is one of Bernini's earliest works, a funerary bust of Giovanni Battista Santoni, which can be seen on the side of the pillar facing the entrance.
The Cappella del Crocefisso (Chapel of the Crucifix) contains a medieval coloured crucifix, dated sometime between the 13th and the 15th centuries, The chapels contains also some beautiful items of carved stonework found when the nave floor was re-laid later, apparently from the 9th century furnishings.
Stunning , very old church, with fantastic and awe-inspiring mosaics.
Don't forget to visit the side chapel of San Zeno.
Highly recommended.

Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Toronto, Canada43 contributions
May 2013 • Family
Santa Pressede was without a doubt the best surprise in Rome. The ninth century, virtually intact mosaics are of superb quality.

TIP: make sure to bring 1 euro to turn on the lights inside the chapel.
Written June 10, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

University Place, WA203 contributions
Mar 2013 • Couples
Don't miss this little gem. Stunning mosaics from the 9th century in an unassuming little church. The church is open from 7:30 to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. It's easy to miss on a small back street and does not have an ornate facade like every other church in Rome. From the obelisk in front of Santa Maria Maggiore, head one short block southwest on Via Merulana and turn right. It's at the end of another short block.
Written March 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Madison, WI681 contributions
May 2019 • Couples
If one decided whether or not to visit based on the way it looks on the outside, there is a good chance very few people would ever enter. Since you’ll be in the area visiting Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (you know you will…), it is worth taking a short detour here. Your eyes will be treated to one of the finest basilicas in Rome. As an added bonus, it is very unlikely you’ll be sharing your time here with more than a handful of other admirers.
Written June 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Charleston, SC1,469 contributions
Oct 2017 • Couples
When one sees how close the three basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Pudenziana and Santa Prassede are to each other, one cannot help but apply a modern church-goers concerns and say, how could each of them have gotten a good sized congregation on Sundays - wouldn't they compete with each other?

Of the three, I would have to say Santa Prassede was maybe my least favorite, but really there is nothing "least" about this building. It is beautiful. My attention was mostly drawn by the most ancient parts of the building - the chapel with its ancient mosaics and the mosaics above the altar. And they are stupendous. The chapel has a little more of that "naivete" that we expect in medieval art than the stunningly real mosaics of Santa Pudenziana. But they are just wonderful regardless of their style - the dark of the chapel dulls some of the wonderful colors a bit, but to get such colors in mosaic tiles is lovely. This was the third stop on our self-guided mosaics tour that day, and wow, we were having a great time.
Written September 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Basilica di Santa Prassede is open:
  • Sun - Sat 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM
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