Rome, Italy- April 8,2021: The Cloister of The Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.A square corridor built in the 12th century,Numerous sarcophagi and bas-reliefs are arranged along the walls; Shutterstock ID 1954131592; purchase_order: 65050; job: poi; client: ; other:

Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura

Monti, Esquilino & San Lorenzo

One of Rome’s four patriarchal basilicas, San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura (St Lawrence Outside the Walls) has an unusually restrained interior. It was the only major Roman church to suffer bomb damage in WWII, and is a hotchpotch of rebuilds and restorations as a result. Despite this, it is worth visiting for its magnificent Cosmati floor and front portico, which features a fresco of St Lawrence, one of Rome's martyrs, being roasted alive on a spit.

St Lawrence was martyred in AD 258, and Constantine had the original basilica constructed in the 4th century over his burial place, which was rebuilt 200 years later. Subsequently, a nearby 5th-century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was incorporated into the building, resulting in the church you see today. The nave, portico and much of the decoration date from the 13th century.

The remains of St Lawrence and St Stephen are in the church crypt beneath the high altar. A pretty barrel-vaulted cloister contains inscriptions and sarcophagi, and leads to the Catacombe di Santa Ciriaca, where St Lawrence was initially buried.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Monti, Esquilino & San Lorenzo attractions

1. Cimitero di Campo Verano

0.09 MILES

The city’s largest cemetery dates from the Napoleonic occupation of Rome (1804–14), when an edict ordered that the city’s dead must be buried outside...

2. Fondazione Pastificio Cerere

0.34 MILES

A former pasta factory that hung up its spaghetti racks in 1960 after 55 years of business, this is now a contemporary art hub, with regular shows in the…

3. Porta Maggiore

0.83 MILES

Porta Maggiore was built by order of the Emperor Claudius in AD 52. Then, as now, it was a major road junction under which passed the two main southbound…

4. Villa Torlonia

0.91 MILES

Full of towering pine trees, atmospheric palms and scattered villas, this splendid but often ungroomed 19th-century park once belonged to Prince Giovanni…

5. Casina delle Civette

0.92 MILES

In Villa Torlonia park, the Casina delle Civette is a bizarre mix of Swiss cottage, Gothic castle and twee farmhouse decorated in art-nouveau style. Built…

6. Villa Torlonia Bunker

0.98 MILES

Beneath the greenery of Villa Torlonia lie reminders of a dark chapter in Rome's history. Between 1940 and 1943, Mussolini had two air-raid shelters and…

7. Casino Nobile

0.99 MILES

With its oversized neoclassical facade – added by architect Giovan Battista Caretti to embellish an earlier overhaul by Giuseppe Valadier – Casino Nobile…

8. Musei di Villa Torlonia

0.99 MILES

Housed in three villas – Casino Nobile, Casina delle Civette and Casino dei Principi – this museum boasts an eclectic collection of sculpture, paintings,…