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Medieval Churches in Rome

Looking for medieval churches in Rome? Here we’ve put together a guide to see the antique mosaics, religious artwork and typical architecture found in medieval Roman churches around the city.


Middle Ages in Rome
The Middle Ages refers to the period from the IV century to the end of the XIV century, during which there were many political and cultural revolutions in Italy, most importantly in Art. From the end of the IV century, Rome and the majority of Italy was invaded by Germanic tribes who established themselves on the lands of the collapsing Roman Empire all over Europe. They brought with them a different artistic culture that signaled the end of the greco-roman era.


During the middle ages in Rome, specifically after the Germanic invasion and conquering of Rome, Christianity began to flourish again with the Pope as the spiritual and political leader. The Catholic Church was a very powerful institution which had its own laws, lands and taxes. As the church grew in size and number of followers, so did its riches. The church was therefore able to encourage and commission more Christian art. Roman art at the time was much more focused on religious themes than anything else. Monasteries were built around many Catholic churches to act as religious institutions and became the first concentrated centers of political, religious and cultural power in Rome.

 

Medieval churches in Rome

The first medieval churches were built under Costantine in 313, among which we find the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vincoli , where Michelangelo’s Moses now resides. In the Basilica of Saint Clemente you’ll find large mosaics and medieval frescoes. At the beginning of the middle ages in Rome, many churches and religious buildings were constructed, such as the church of S. Agnese, the Mausoleum of Saint Costanza, and the church of S. Prassede, where there are some beautiful mosaics found in the San Zeno Chapel; Santa Pudenziana, Santa Croce in Jerusalem, S. Antiqua, San Saba and the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo.
The Roman mosaics found in the various churches around the city are prime examples of medieval Roman art, in particular those mosaics found in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano,  in the Basilica of San Paolo outside the Walls, and the beautiful pavement in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


Laterano is an area of Rome that was built during the time of Constantine and is quite characteristic of the Middle Ages. In fact, the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano is one of the oldest churches in the city, rich in history and has great examples of religious art work from the period.
Well known artists from the end of the middle ages in Rome such as Jacopo Torriti, Pietro Cavallini and Filippo Rusuti were responsible for impressive works at the end of the XIII century in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, in the church of S. Cecilia and in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

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