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Four Quirky Churches in Rome You Have to See

Have you already seen the big, important churches in Rome and Vatican City?  

Are you really not a big fan of churches but love architecture, art, or just a good story?  

Would you like to see interesting and beautiful things without having to endure crowded places?  

Then check out our list of Four Quirky Churches in Rome!  Even if you don’t normally care about churches you might want to make an exception for these.

Would you like to create a custom tour of Rome?  DriverInRome is here and ready to help with any sort of day trip with private car and driver or specialized walking tour you have in mind.  All of our knowledge and expertise is at your disposal.  Let’s chat!

Quirky, Fascinating, and Unusual Churches in Rome You Have to See

There really is no end to the number of churches you can visit in Rome, and each one is unique.  Many even house masterpieces of art that you can view without paying an entrance fee (such as the three Caravaggio paintings on free display in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, near Piazza Navona).

To follow are our top unusual church picks in The Eternal City.  Could be a motif for a little out-of-the-ordinary walking tour of Rome!  (If you prefer a chauffeur we are at your service.)

All these churches are in the historic center of Rome, and not too far on foot from Roma Termini train station, with the exception of the mausoleum of Santa Costanza.

Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio (St. Stephen in the Round)

This ancient basilica, with its circular floor plan, was the first of its kind in Rome and unique in the Late Roman era.  It is presently the Hungarian national church in Rome, dedicated to both Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and Stephen I, the king of Hungary who converted to Christianity and promoted it in his kingdom.

The distinctive interior of Santo Stefano Rotondo (St. Stephen in the Round) is dominated by a ring of twenty two marble columns that creates two circular walkways around the main altar at the center of the church. The walls of the church are adorned by numerous frescoes, and the chapel of Saints Primo and Feliciano presents rare mosaics from the 7th Century.  Under the church there is a 2nd-century Mithraic temple and the remains of ancient Roman barracks.

Santa Maria della Concezione (Capuchin Crypt in Our Lady of the Conception)

If you’re up for a truly quirky and perhaps macabre experience, look no further.

The Capuchin Crypt is located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Our Lady of the Conception).  But this is no ordinary crypt.  

The walls of the Capuchin crypt are decorated, but not with frescoes or mosaics.  In this crypt the ornamentation is created with the bones and skulls of Capuchin monks, some 4,000 in all.

While some may view the scene as bizarre or morbid, the friars prefer to regard it as a poignant reminder of the swift passage of life on Earth and our own mortality.

General info and history:

Opening hours and tickets:

Mausoleo di Santa Costanza (Saint Constance)

Thought to have been built as a mausoleum for the daughter of Emperor Constantine, the mausoleum of Santa Costanza (Saint Constance) is one of the best-preserved and most distinguished examples of an ancient Christian basilica in Rome.

This basilica is a Christmas stocking overflowing with architectural, artistic, and religious treats.  The mosaics on the ceiling are extremely beautiful, and among the oldest Christian mosaics still to be found in Rome.

Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem)

If religious relics and awesome lore are your thing, it doesn’t get much better than this.  

The story goes that the Empress Helen, Constantine’s mother, after her pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the 4th Century, brought back fragments of the True Cross and one of the nails used in the Crucifixion, which are now exhibited in the basilica.  

Other relics were subsequently added — fragments of the Grotto of the Nativity, a part of the cross of the Good Thief, and two thorns from the Crown of Jesus, among others.

On display in the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (the Holy Cross in Jerusalem) is also the Titulus Crucis, claimed by believers to be the wooden plaque that identified the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

For general info about the basilica, its history, the relics, and how to arrange a visit:

For an academic evaluation of the Titulus Crucis:

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