Walking Tour of Trastevere and Janiculum Hill

Earlier this week, Michele, Mia, and I gave our walking tour of Trastevere and Janiculum Hill. We started our tour at the San Crisogono Church. This church is located in the neighborhood of Trastevere. The church is dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus and it was built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I. The bell tower that is attached to the church dates back to the 12th century and the church was also rebuilt in the same century. In the 18th century, the Cardinal Scipione Borghese had Giovanni Battista do renovations to the church and had his name written over the facade. In the 13th century, the Cosmati family designed a mosaic floor for the church. The floor is made of marble and it has a geometric pattern that facilitates the procession on feast days. The church is also built over the remains of a Roman Domus and an early Christian Basilica. The Domus dates back from the 3rd century A.D.

After the San Crisogono church, we accidentally took our tour in the wrong direction. It was a great mistake because we got to talk about and see Saint Cecilia’s Church. Saint Cecilia’s church is named after Saint Cecilia who is the patron of music. She was martyred in the year 230 A.D. The church was founded in the 4th century A.D on the site of her house. Below her house, there are the ruins of a Roman tannery. After she died, her body was discovered in the catacomb of San Callisto and she was buried in the church in the 9th century A.D by Pope Paschal I. When they found her remains, Pope Paschal had the church rebuilt. In 1599, her remains were used to make a statue, which is located inside the church in front of the altar. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside the church because it was closed. We then left Saint Cecilia’s and started our way towards Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Santa Maria in Trastevere was built in 350 by Pope Julius I. During this time period it was known as Titulus Callisti. In 410 A.D. it was partcially destroyed by the sack of Rome. Then, it was repaired and rededicated to the Virgin Mary by Pope Celestine I. This made it the first Christian place in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Then, in the 12th century it was rebuilt by Pope Innocent II. He used materials from the ancient baths of Caracalla and there are 22 granite columns that are from the ruins of ancient Roman buildings. According to legend, when Christ was born, a stream of oil flowed from the Earth on the site of the church. It signified the coming of the grace of God. There is a plaque that marks the spot of where the oil stopped flowing. The words on the plaque read “Fons Olei”. Once everyone finished looking inside the church, we made our way to Janiculum Hill.

Once we got to the hill, the first thing we talked about was the Mausoleo Ossario Garibaldino. It was designed by Giovanni Jacobucci and this is a monument to represent the last defense of the Roman Republic led by Giuseppe Garibaldi. It was proclaimed on February 9, 1849. The monument contains remain of those killed in battles for Roma Capitale from 1849-1870 against the French. Later on, Giovanni Jacobucci enlarged the monument to accommodate the fallen during the struggles against the Nazis in 1943. In the center, there is a granite altar with allegorical Roman figures depicted. Also, there is a crypt that contains slabs with names of the fallen and a sarcophagus containing mortal remains of Goffredo Mameli.

We ended our tour with the fountain located at the top of Janiculum Hill. The fountain is called The Fountain of Acqua Paola or the fountain of Janiculum Hill. It was designed and built to mark the end of the Trajan Aqueduct between the years 1610 and 1614. The architects were Giovanni Fontana and Flaminio Ponzio. Pope Paul V of the Borghese family commissioned the construction of the fountain. Throughout the fountain, there are many eagles and dragons to represent the Borghese family. There is white and multicolored marble that was stripped from the Roman Forum and they were used a decorative elements on the fountain. The red and grey columns in the front were taken from Saint Peter’s Basilica dating from the Constantine Era. At the end of the 17th century, Carlo Fontana altered the fountains facade into what is today a monumental semicircular marble basin. The basin substituted the 5 original basins located between the arches. We ended the tour with our group picture with the fantastic view across the road from the fountain. Although it was a very cold day, it was still very fun informing our classmates about Trastevere and Janiculum Hill.

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