I went up the Caelian Hill yesterday with a friend for to visit the round basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo. I had not been in the building for some years and it was closed for restorations for quite a while. It recently reopened after extensive work on the pavement and other restorations.
The basilica was consecrated in the 5th c. and was once much larger than it is today: there were once three sets of concentric rings, while now there are two. All around the walls of the basilica are 16th c. paintings of rather gruesome martyrdoms.
Here are a few shots of the place.
And interesting fact I learned from the blogosphere’s "Zadok", whom I met by chance, is that the tomb of the son of King Brian Boru (+1014) of Ireland is in the basilica. Brian Boru’s March is one of a famous pieces of Irish music everyone should know.
The elegantly carved inscription says that he gave his crown to the Pope.
Another inscription in the basilica indicates that St. Gregory the Great delivered one of his sermons on the Gospel of Matthew here. I will get to that story soon.