The paleochristian Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore
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Basilica di San Lorenzo Maggiore

General information

This magnificent early Christian basilica, completed before the end of the 5th century retains every bit of its original monumental splendor, despite several restorations over the centuries.

Its enormous cupola, attributable to the design talents of Martino Bassi, collapsed in 1573 and was rebuilt by Bassi and completed by Quadrio during the era of Federigo Borromeo.

The basilica’s grandiosity and richness, its splendid mosaic decorations and the complexity of the square floor plan that opens onto four semi-circular exedras lend further support to the theory that it is the ancient palatine chapel from the epoch of Theodosius, as is confirmed by the supposed proximity of the imperial palace (of which no trace remains) and the mausoleum-like sacellum of St. Aquilinus which forms part of the building.

Outside there is a marvelous, well-preserved colonnade.

Don't miss

San Lorenzo’s Choir has 25 members and its strictly classical-liturgical repertory includes composers such as Mozart, Bach and Fauré, along with various 1ate 19th and early 20th-century hymns from the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

A 170-seat cinema/theatre hosts a variety of cultural and entertainment events.

Anecdotes and curiosities

The entire foundations were built out of material from the Roman amphitheater.
On Sundays at 4pm a mass is held in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines.

Useful details

Tourists may not visit during Mass.

Mediagallery

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      • Ticket information

        Admission free

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