Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Select language

This section of the Pathway through Religions portal provides administrative information for the project contractual partners and for the European Commission and it is password protected.


Homepage > ReligiousSite Map > Map

An interactive didactical map interactive didactical map giving access to sites with a religious relevance.

Back to the Religious Sites List

Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Santa Cecilia Sqaure, 22 – Rome - ITALY



Santa Cecilia is a basilica church with no transept and a north tower. It is oriented west, in accordance with Roman tradition. The entire brick exterior of the 9th-century building survives intact, but most if it is difficult to see because of later additions. Entrance is through a small courtyard to the east, whose fountain incorporates a Roman cantharus urn. The portico or narthex includes a 13th-century architrave and various inscriptions and architectural fragments. Inside, there is a nave with side aisles and several side chapels. Some of the original architecture has been disguised by 19th-century renovations, the most dramatic (and unfortunate) of which is enclosing the original columns within piers. The choir at the west end is raised, with a crypt containing Cecilia's tomb beneath. Notable artworks in the church include The Last Judgment by Pietro Cavallini (c. 1293) and a gothic ciborium by Arnolfo di Cambio over the altar (1293). In front of the choir is a sculpture by Stefano Maderno of Saint Cecilia. Contorted and yet somehow graceful, the statue is highly unusual and has great emotional impact. The apse above the choir is decorated with a fine 9th-century mosaic on the theme of the Second Coming. It consists of seven standing figures: at the top of the triumphal arch is the monogram of Pope Paschal I, who built the church. Paschal also appears on the left of the mosaic, with a square nimbus indicating he was alive at the time it was made. Above his head is a small phoenix, symbol of resurrection, and next to him are St. Paul and St. Cecilia. Christ is in the center, his left hand holding a scroll and his right hand raised in blessing. Above him is the Hand of God. On the right stand St. Peter, St. Valerian (Cecilia's husband) and St. Agatha.
The first church on this site was founded probably in the 3rd century, by Pope Urban I; it was devoted to the young Roman woman Cecilia, martyred it is said under Marcus Aurelius Severus (A.D. 222-235). Tradition holds that the church was built over the house of the saint. The baptistery associate with this church, together with the remains of a Roman house of the early Empire, was found during some excavations under the Chapel of the Relics. By the late fifth century the church is mentioned as the Titulus Ceciliae. The present church was built over the ruins of Cecilia's house by Pope Paschal I (817-824). The church's facade was added by Ferdinando Fuga in 1725 and more renovations were done in 1823, including enclosing the nave columns inside piers. The ancient Roman buildings beneath the church were excavated and too-creatively restored in 1897. The church was restored again in 1990.
Santa Cecilia, martyr of the first centuries, recalls the many martyrs of all faiths, who are still persecuted and killed. In the twentieth century the number of faithful persecuted, because of their belief, has grown from the totalitarianisms that have dominated Europe. But even the first years of the new century saw Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, believers of every confession or creed, in many parts of the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, Africa, multiply again. These harassments take different forms: sometimes it is a true persecution carried out systematically by the constituted power; at other times a popular malevolence fomented by religious or political leaders through statements and press campaigns; other times, finally, an attitude that can turn into persecution, a feeling of opposition that precludes the faithful from building / attending places of worship, holding public offices and, in general, enjoying the same civil rights as other citizens. But this unjust suffering, precisely the blood of the many martyrs, of the many "witnesses of love" (as the martyrs of all faiths have been defined) has brought a unique contribution to interreligious dialogue, pushing the faithful of all religions to oppose violence by preaching and sowing good, increasing harmony and maintaining unity, praying that so many sacrifices open the way for a future of communion and peace for all.
The theme of persecution clearly raises the question of the relationship between the predominant faith in a specific geographical area and other religious confessions. The legal systems, state or international, are therefore called to recognize, guarantee and protect religious freedom, which is inherently inherent in human nature, to its dignity of being free, and is also an indicator of a healthy democracy and one of the main sources of the legitimacy of the state. Religious freedom, embodied in constitutions and laws and translated into coherent behaviors, favors the development of relationships of mutual respect between the various Confessions and their healthy collaboration with the State and political society, without confusion of roles and without antagonisms.
Direct visit with local guides

Virtual visit using the videos proposed in the media resources

Classroom activity (pre- and post- visit)
Artistic itinerary: detailed information on the works of art preserved in the basilica of Santa Cecilia.
Deepening on the role of women in interreligious dialogue
Activity of verification of the acquired knowledge and skills.

Women of Faith for Peace - Campana dei caduti Rovereto Colle di, Via Miravalle, 38068 Rovereto (Trento) – ITALY



Follow us


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.