Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura
500BC-400AD-Ancient times Europe Italy

St Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls, Rome – St Paul’s mystery tomb

May 20, 2018
Age 2340 years old
Type Basilica, Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location186, Via Ostiense, 00146, Rome, Italy, Europe  
Metro station: Basilica San Paolo, line B.
Buses: 23 and 271
Getting there Car, plane, train
When to visit 7 am – 6.30 pm
Year of construction When Paul the Apostle was executed in the first century AD in Rome, his followers built a shrine over his grave. In 324BC a small church was consecrated on the same grounds, which was later demolished in 386 BC to make space for the construction of a larger and more beautiful basilica, completed in 395 BC.  
The monastery’s striking cloister was built between 1220 AD and 1241 AD. The cloister is one of the few parts of the Basilica which survived the fire of 1823 AD.
After the fire, many countries made donations for the restoration of the church, which was reopened in 1840 AD. The temple was later declared a national monument.

St Paul’s Basilica – one of the four major basilicas of Rome

  • St Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls is one of the four major (or papal) basilicas of Rome
  • It was built above the tomb of St. Paul
  • The name of the edifice derives from the fact that the church was raised outside the Aurelian Walls, which in ancient times surrounded the whole of Rome.
  • Emperor Constantine was the one who ordered the building of the basilica on the site where the Apostle’s followers had built a memorial monument

Tomb of St. Paul

  • In St Paul’s Basilica, in the middle of the transept, a Roman sarcophagus was discovered in 2006, believed to be the bones of St. Paul. Only one corner of the sarcophagus is dug up.
  • The cloister or inner courtyard of the Benedictine monastery was built between 1220-1241 by Pietro Vassalletto and remained unaffected by the fire. Its columns are decorated in mosaic made with gold sheets and colored glass pieces. In 1823 a fire occurred that led to the almost total destruction of the basilica
  • On the basilica’s walls, visitors will be able to observe the portraits of each of the popes, while a ray of sunlight lights up the portrait of the current Pope, Pope Francis.
  • The atrium located in the exterior is one of the most noteworthy parts of St Paul’s Basilica. It is made up of 150 columns, and from here, visitors can see the façade of the Basilica covered by an enormous golden mosaic built between 1854 and 1874, which reflects the rays of sunlight. The center of the portico houses a colossal statue of St. Paul.
Basilica San Paolo, Rome 2