The basilica of Saint Saba stands on the "little Aventine", between the Aventine and Celio hills, in the hidden charming district of the same name. The church was built around the eighth century on an oratory built in Roman times and dedicated to Saint Silvia, mother of Pope Gregory the Great. The origins of the basilica are linked to a group of oriental monks from the monastery of Saint Saba in Giudea who settled in the area.
The basilica remained the patrimony of the Greek monks until the 11th century when, after the Eastern Schism, it passed to the Benedictine monks. In 1573 it became the seat of the Germanic Hungarian College of the Society of Jesus; after the suppression of the order in the eighteenth century, the Franciscans and later the Salesians settled in the area. From the early 1900s until today, the Jesuits returned to the leadership of the community which in the meantime had become a parish.The building represents a wonderful example of medieval architecture and its structure takes up the plan of the early Christian churches. The façade dates back to the Romanesque period as well as the front porch, under which a sarcophagus and various excavated objects are preserved, while the elegant arcade, with arches on granite columns, dates back to the fifteenth century. The interior, with three naves divided by fourteen ancient columns with various capitals, is rich in remains of 13th century frescoes which still retain their original splendour today. The Cosmatesque floor is characterized by five large discs of different marble placed in the centre.
Photo: Courtesy of Basilica of San Saba Official Site
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