Another Church I’d Meant to Visit for Forever: San Nicola in Carcere

Look! Columns! This photo is credited to:
Look! Columns! This photo is credited to: “Rom BW 1” by I, Berthold Werner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rom_BW_1.JPG#/media/File:Rom_BW_1.JPG

Like the Chiesa Nuova and Sant’Ivo, San Nicola in Carcere is ridiculously centrally located in Rome in one of the most obvious sites in the city– just down the hill from the Campidoglio and next to the Teatro Marcello. I’d passed it about nine million times. And despite having been told YEARS ago that it had a crazy-fascinating crypt with ruins and the church was built within the remains of a pagan temple, eh, I just hadn’t gone in.

Teatro Marcello and racers. They were the most leisurely racers I've ever seen.
Teatro Marcello and racers. They were the most leisurely racers I’ve ever seen.

Until now. I was wandering around one morning, being surprisingly sidetracked by a breast cancer race through the center, and I noticed while trying to weave my way around and through the thousands of racers that this Church was open. So in I went.

I like the curtains.
I like the curtains.

It’s a little church, baroqued like nearly all of them, but what makes San Nicola in Carcere great is the crypt/ruins below. When you decend down below the altar (which you have to ask to do and pay 3 euros for), you find in the basement the remains of Republican era temple bases.

Cute! and Empty!
Cute! and Empty!

These are the temples of Janus and Juno, which were originally part of the Forum Holitorium. And although they look a bit like undistinguishable rocks, it is places like these that give you a few moments of peace with Rome’s insanely deep history. I was in this place by myself. By myself people. All alone. It was cool, a bit damp, and had piles of what looked like bones. Creepy, historical, and underground. The three most excellent characteristics of anywhere in Rome!

Rocks! Dark! Alone!
Rocks! Dark! Alone!
Bones? Bones!
Bones? Bones!
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Another Church I’d Meant to Visit for Forever: San Nicola in Carcere

  1. I think I walked past this chiesa in July on my walk down from the Aventino and Santa Sabina. I think I was so taken aback when I noticed there are private residences in the Teatro Marcello that I didn’t pay attention to anything else! I did go into the Museum of immigration under Il Vittoriano though and that was really interesting. San Nicola in Carcere looks like it would have been a great place to escape the heat!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s