Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Constantine (306/337) in 324 had a small preexisting shrine, a cella memoriae, transformed into a small Basilica, built in the opposite direction with the entrance on Via Ostiense
Rebuilt in the current size in the years about 384/390 and known as the Basilica of three emperors: Theodosius (379/395), Arcadio (395/408) and Valentinian II (375/392)
Consecrated in 395 by Pope St. Siricius (384/399) - the first bishop to be called "papa" exclusively - under Honorius (395/423) in the same year when Theodosius died, shortly after having divided the empire between his two sons: the Eastern Empire to the seventeen years old Arcadius and the Western Empire to the ten years old Honorius
At the end of the sixth century with Gregory the Great (590/604) the floor was raised in order to have the altar over the tomb of St. Paul
From the eighth century it became a small state with a feudal monastic town
It was fortified by John VIII (872/882) and took the name of GIOVANNOPOLI and was inhabited until the earthquake of 1348
Among the artists who worked in the Basilica in the thirteenth century there were the Vassallettos, Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini (about 1240/1325) and Arnolfo di Cambio (about 1245/1302); in the fifteenth century Benozzo di Lese aka Benozzo Gozzoli (1420/97) and Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (1452/1508); in the seventeenth century Onorio Longhi (1568/1619) and Carlo Maderno (1556/1629). In the eighteenth century Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729) designed the porch that collapsed spectacularly in 1725 and, in fact, caused his career to be cut short
On the night between 15 and 16 July 1823 a fire destroyed it
A project by Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839) to rebuild it in contemporary style was rejected and it was rebuilt with the same original size and plant
Designer of the reconstruction in the years 1825/33 was Pasquale Belli (1752/1833), assisted by Pietro Bosio (active since 1813/d. 1855), Pietro Camporese the Younger (1792/1873) and Andrea Lippi
FAÇADE, BELL TOWER, LEFT SIDE and LEFT SIDE PORCH with twelve columns from the ancient basilica built in the years 1833/69 by Luigi Poletti who replaced Pasquale Belli after his death
The new Basilica was consecrated in 1854 by Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78)
In 1891 the explosion of Porta Portese gunpowder deposit shattered the windows made in 1830 by Antonio Moroni (1825/86)
It is estimated that under the floor of the basilica there are more than 5,000 burials of which about 1,700 inscriptions have been found
Virginio Vespignani (1808/82) 1890/92 with nearly 150 columns
Modified in the years 1892/1928 by Guglielmo Calderini (1837/1916) architect also of the ill-fated Palazzo di Giustizia also known as "Palazzaccio", the "Ugly Building"
The TEN MONOLITHIC COLUMNS of the front porch come from quarries in Baveno on Lake Maggiore and were brought here with barges: it took them four years to circumnavigate Italy
In the center "Statue of St. Paul" by Giuseppe Obici (1807/78)
On the right "Statue of St. Luke" by Francesco Fabj-Altini (1830/1906)
On the FAÇADE mosaic "Christ between Sts. Peter and Paul, Agnus Dei and the four prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel" 1854/74 by Filippo Agricola (1795/1857) and Nicola Consoni (1814/84)
Under the front porch statues of "St. Peter" and "St. Paul" by Gregorio Zappalà (1833/1908)
External reliefs in the central door 1930 by Antonio Maraini (1886/1963)
HOLY DOOR with external gilded bronze reliefs 2000 by Enrico Manfrini (1917/2004)
Length 131.66 m (432 feet), width 65 m (213 feet), height 29.70 m (97 feet), width of central nave 24.6 m (81 feet)
Five naves with 80 monolithic columns of granite from Montòrfano
Between the upper windows THIRTY-SIX FRESCOES with "Stories of the life of St. Paul" by twenty-one artists including Pietro Gagliardi (1809/90), Francesco Grandi (1831/91), Carlo Gavardini (1811/69), Francesco Podesti (1800/95), Guglielmo De Sanctis (1829/1911), Francesco Coghetti (1801/75) and Cesare Mariani (1826/1901)
In the WINDOWS thin "Slabs of alabaster" donated by King Fuad I of Egypt after the previous windows made in 1830 by Antonio Moroni (1825/86) had been destroyed by the explosion of a powder magazine in 1891
FRIEZE commissioned in the old basilica by Leo I the Great (440/461) and replicated in the new format with round PORTRAITS IN MOSAIC OF THE 266 POPES. There are twenty-two empty spaces left
In niches along the walls TEN STATUES OF THE APOSTLES 1884 by Francesco Fabj-Altini (1830/1906), Antonio Allegretti (1840/1918), Giuseppe Trabacchi (1839/1909), Emilio Gallori (1846/1924), Eugenio Maccagnani (1852/1930) and Filippo Cifariello (1864/1936)
Above the main door "Angels holding the coat of arms of Pius IX" on the right by Ignazio Jacometti (1819/83) and on the left by Salvatore Revelli (1816/59)
HOLY DOOR in bronze engraved in silver on the side facing the inside of the church with "Stories of the Old and New Testament" 1070 Staurachios from Scio (active second half of XI century)
At the end of the central nave TRIUMPHAL ARCH with a mosaic from the time of St. Leo the Great (440/461) heavily restored: "Saviour blessing between two adoring angels, symbols of the Evangelists and 24 elders of the Apocalypse" with "Sts. Peter and Paul" in the spandrels
On the side of the arch facing the altar remains of a mosaic by Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini (about 1240/1325) formerly in the ancient façade with "Christ blessing among Sts. Peter and Paul and symbols of Sts. Luke and Mark"
On the left "Statue of St. Peter" by Ignazio Jacometti (1819/83) and on the right "Statue of St. Paul" by Salvatore Revelli (1816/59)
"Ciborium" 1284 by Arnolfo di Cambio (about 1245/1302) maybe with Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini: bas-reliefs "Abbot Bartholomew & St. Paul, Cain & Abel, Constantine & Theodosius, Adam & Eve"
"Thanks to his training with Nicola Pisano, Arnolfo was destined from the beginning to grasp the beauty and realism of classical Roman sculpture: the citations from the antiquity, taken from the book of models of his master, are frequent in his works of the first period, as shown by two figures of Eve in the ciborium of St. Paul both variants of a Venus" (Richard Krautheimer)
In a press conference on 11 December 2006 it was announced that, after excavations that lasted four years, a white sarcophagus was found one side of which is now visible
On June 29, 2009, the feast day of St. Paul, Benedict XVI announced that the tests with carbon-14 had identified human remains in the tomb as belonging to a man of the first or second century AD. This fact, together with traces of purple linen, the grains of incense and the glitter of gold found along the human remains, would almost certainty identify the tomb with that of St. Paul
To the right of the altar EASTER CANDELABRUM with "Stories of Passion" twelfth century by Nicolò di Angelo and Pietro Vassalletto
Mosaic 1220/30 executed by Venetian craftsmen for Honorius III Savelli (1213/27) almost completely remade, "Christ Blessing with the tiny Honorius III at his feet among Sts. Peter and Andrew on the right and Paul and Luke on the left"
In the lower part "Altar with Passion's symbols, angels and line of apostles and saints"
In the spandrels (formerly on the façade) mosaic 1325 Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini:
On the right "St. John the Evangelist blesses John XXII (1316/34) and symbol of the apostle" and on the left "Madonna and Child Enthroned and symbol of St. Matthew"
At the center of the apse papal chair with gilded bas-relief by Pietro Tenerani (1789/1869)
In the lunette painting "St. Paul raised to the third heaven" 1840 by Vincenzo Camuccini (1771/1844)
To the heads of the two arms ALTARS plated with malachite and lapis lazuli gift of the Russian Tsar Nicholas I:
"Conversion of St. Paul" Vincenzo Camuccini
At the sides statues on the right "St. Romuald" by Achille Stocchi (?/after 1870) and on the left "St. Gregory the Great" by Francesco Massimiliano Laboureur (1767/1831)
Copy in mosaic of the "Coronation of the Virgin" by Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546) and Giovanni Francesco Penni (about 1496/1528), pupils of Raphael, now in the Vatican Museums
At the sides statues on the right "St. Scholastica" by Felice Baini (active 1824/37) and on the left "St. Benedict" 1837 by Filippo Gnaccarini (1804/75)
By Luigi Poletti (1792/1869)
"Statue St. Stephan" by Rinaldo Rinaldi (1793/1873)
On the right "Stoning of St. Stephen" 1845 by Francesco Podesti (1800/95)
On the left "St. Stephen is sent out of the Sanhedrin" 1845 by Francesco Coghetti (1801/75) for Gregory XVI Cappellari (1831/46)
By Carlo Maderno (1556/1629), rebuilt in 1725
"Crucifix" of the fourteenth century perhaps (according to Vasari) by Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini who is buried here, but more likely by the Sienese School of painters
On the left "Madonna Theotokòs Hodigitria" (which means Mother of God who shows the way) mosaic of the twelfth century before which St. Ignatius professed vows and started the Society of Jesus
On the right wooden statue of "St. Paul" fourteenth or fifteenth century scratched by pilgrims in search of relics
First niche on the left statue of "St. Bridget" by Stefano Maderno (1560/1636)
To the right of the apse 
1629 Carlo Maderno
O the altar "Marble triptych with Sts. Anthony Abbot, Justin and Denis" 1494 School of Andrea Bregno (1418/1503) formerly in the counter-façade of the old basilica
In the vault "Stories of St. Lawrence" by Antonio Viligiardi (1869/1936)
Wooden stalls designed by Guglielmo Calderini and executed by the wood carver Monteneri
By Luigi Poletti with "Twelve ancient columns from Veii" in imitation of the cella of a pagan temple
Marble statue of "St. Benedict" by Pietro Tenerani (1789/1869)
Outside the chapel curious "Stoup with child and the devil" 1860 by Pietro Galli (1804/77) a pupil of Bertel Thorvaldsen. There were some who saw a striking resemblance between the face of the devil and the face of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli
St. JULIAN ORATORY (or hall of martyrology)
Damaged frescoes of the twelfth or thirteenth century
On the left BAPTISTERY
1930 by Arnaldo Foschini (1884/1968) with frescoes 1460/65 by Antonio Del Massaro aka Antonio da Viterbo or Pastura (about 1450/1516)
In the niche "St. Paul" maybe by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (1452/1508)
Colossal "Statue of Gregory XVI" Cappellari (1831/46) by Rinaldo Rinaldi (1793/1873)
Fifteenth century frescoes
Thirteenth century mosaics
Partly by the Vassalletto family. It was begun in 1100 and finished before 1214
There are architectural and archeological fragments including:
"Sarcophagus of Pietro Leone" of the twelfth century
"Statue of Boniface IX" Tomacelli (1389/1404) maybe by Magister Paulus
Fragment of "Sarcophagus with Christ among the apostles"
About forty paintings including:
"Crucifix and St. Bridget" by Ludovico Cardi aka Cigoli (1559/1613)
"Assumption" by Filippo Agricola (1795/1857)
Triptych with doors of the Umbrian school of the sixteenth century
"Madonna and Child with Saints" maybe by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano

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