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Santa Prassede

Santa Prassede (19)

The current church was founded by Pope Paschal I at the beginning of the 9th century, on the spot where an oratory had stood in the 2nd century. Its inside has been altered and rebuilt due to the various restorations it has experienced, the most recent in the 19th century.

Its three naves are separated by rows of granite columns, and in the central nave there is a large stone covering a well. According to legend, this well is where Saint Praxedes buried the bodies of 2,000 martyrs.

We should note that the mosaics of Saint Praxedes are among the most beautiful of medieval Rome. Special attention should be given to those of Byzantine style which decorate the apse, full of symbols such as the phoenix, which represents the resurrection, or the four rivers of Eden, which represent earthly paradise.

You can see the beauty of the mosaics close-up in the Chapel of San Zeno. This chapel was built as a mausoleum for the mother of Pope Paschal, Theodora, and its mosaic is considered as one of the most important Byzantine works in Rome. Also here you will find part of a column from Jerusalem, where it is believed Christ was tied and flogged.

Finally, do not leave Santa Prassede with stopping first before the bust of Monsignor Giovanni Battista Santoni, the work of an adolescent Bernini.

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