Santa Cecilia, music’s patron saint, became martyr here on 230 d. C.. The church, founded before C. V on the place where a Roman house was located, probably Valeriano’s , husband to Santa Cecilia, was redone in obedience to Pope Pasquale I’s will; out of the old construction one saves the apsidal mosaic. During C. XII a porch and a bell-tower were annexed.

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Façade of Santa Cecilia, a 1725 project by Ferdinando Fuga, with the 12th century belltower.

It was continuously restored ever since C. XVI until C.XIX, respectively by the order of Cardinals Francesco Acquaviva and Giacomo Doria Pamphili. The eighteen-century façade is by Fuga and it is preceded by a porch that treasures the antique columns made of pink granite and African marble. Not to miss out, inside the nearby convent, the fresco “Il Giudizio universale” by Pietro Cavallini, dated C. XIII.

Santa Cecilia is a basilica church with no transept and a north tower. It is oriented west, in accordance with Roman tradition. The entire brick exterior of the 9th-century building survives intact, but most if it is difficult to see because of later additions.

Interior view of the church of Santa Cecilia in Rome. The nav. Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome.

Entrance is through a small courtyard to the east, whose fountain incorporates a Roman cantharus urn. The portico or narthex includes a 13th-century architrave and various inscriptions and architectural fragments.

Interior view of the church of Santa Cecilia in Rome. Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches of Rome.

The apse above the choir is decorated with a fine 9th-century mosaic on the theme of the Second Coming, which is quite similar to the one at Santa Prassede. It consists of seven standing figures – Christ in the center flanked by three saints on each side – against a background of a meadow with flowers, palm trees and sunset-lit clouds.

A modern crypt, built in 1899-1901, is at the west end of the excavations. Behind an iron grille in the crypt is the 9th-century confessio containing the tombs of the martyrs Cecilia, Valerian, Tibertius, and Maximus and the popes Urban I (222-30) and Lucius I (253-54). Behind that is the original crypt directly beneath the choir. Unfortunately none of its 9th-century decoration has survived.

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