San Crisogono is a Roman church in the quarter of Trastevere. It is dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus, who was kept prisoner for two years in San Rufo‘s house and ended up converting the good man. San Crisogono is one of the first parochial churches of Rome.
It is likely that the church already existed in the 4th century, but it the 12th century was reconstructed by Giovanni da Crema and then in the early 12th century again by Scipione Borghese who commissioned the work to Giovanni Battista Soria. In 1907 remnants of the first San Crisogono were found and new excavations were ordered.
At the moment the church belongs to the Mendicant Order of the Trinitarians. A Mendicant Order lives of begging and charity and is not allowed possessions.
The bell-tower is a result of a 12th century reconstruction, while the interior of the church was reconstructed in the years after 1620. The granite columns were reused, being originally ancient Roman.
The remains of the old San Crisogono church are not the only ruins that can be admired. There are also parts of even more ancient Roman houses, which can be visited by going down a staircase near the sacristy. Since the architecture is rather atypical for a western church, it is suspected that the church did not start out as a church, but that it began its life as a laundromat (fullonica) and that the basins that are present only later started being used for baptisms.
Works of art in the Chiesa di San Crisogono:
- The Cosmatesque mosaics on the floor are typically Roman, named for the Cosmati family who specialized in this geometric style.
- The High Altar (1127) with a 17th century baldachin by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
- The painting “The Triumph of Saint Chrysogonus” by Guercino, in the center of the Baroque ceiling.
- What is left of the frescoes in the right nave was made by Paolo Guidotti. Originally these embellished the Church of the Saints Barbara and Katarina.
- The shrine of the Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, to the left of the nave: Anna Maria could see the future in a globe and was beatified in 1906.
- A number of beautiful sarcophagi.
Church of San Crisogono (Trastevere) Practical Information
|Address||Piazza Sonnino 44, Rome|
|Hotels nearby||Availability and guest reviews Rome Hotels|
|Opening Hours||7.30-11.30am and 4-7pm|
|Admission||Free; 3 Euro for the excavations.|
|Public transport||Tram: 8; Bus: H|
|Special Holidays/Events||Visiting the church on November 24th (Saint Chrysogonus' Feast) will get you forgiveness for your past sins.|
|Note||Shoulders and knees must be covered when entering churches in Rome.|
Directions to the Church of San Crisogono (Trastevere)
From Roma Termini, take bus H and get off after you cross the river. The church on your right is San Crisogono.