Our three-hour "Fall and Rise of Rome" walk is a thematic exploration of the changes that gripped Rome during the late antique period, when it "fell" from the cultural heights of Empire, to its re-emergence as a center of art and theology during the Medieval period. Although it includes several sites that are quite popular to average visitors, we frame these in an engaging, scholarly discussion of the social forces present during a very important period of transformation. This is a wonderful walk for people who want to understand what happened after Rome fell and before the Renaissance began.
We begin at the church of San Clemente, a medieval church built on the remains of a 1st century Mithraic temple and Roman structure (perhaps a house, though there is a theory that this is the Roman mint reputed to be located in this area). After exploring the two churches that sit on top of these ruins, one of which contains one of the oldest instances of Italian writing in the world, we wind through the streets of the Celian neighborhood to SS. Quattro Coronati. This amazing church, regarded by many as the most beautiful Medieval structure in Rome, was constructed in the 11th century and houses spectacular artistic treasures including a chapel with frescos of San Sylvester.
Lastly, will make our way up the hill to the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, underneath of which we find a series of middle-class 3rd century houses. Here we will look at how average people lived and decorated their houses, as the wall decorations here are extremely well-preserved, during the fall of Rome, and then how these ancient sites were transformed during the Middle Ages.In addition to seeing these very distinctive monuments and churches, the walk will explore a variety of themes, from urban stratification—the ancient sites on this walk are all buried under the Medieval ones—to the changes affecting the middle classes in the 5th-8th centuries in Rome.