Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient basilica in Rome, Italy. The church dates back to the 4th (or 5th) century, and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs. The complex of the basilica with its two courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the St. Silvester chapel, and the Monastery with its cosmatesque cloister is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano, in an out-of-time setting. (Taken from here)
For me my little adventures to Italy are all about finding places off the beaten track, things that spark a fascination and an interest for me. That throw up a nostalgia to childhood fascination with all that is old and tumbled down. The romantic aspect of this old rambling fortified basilica and monastery are for me all part of what I have fallen in love with about Italy.
We spent almost forty, forty-five minutes wandering round this beautiful old building. We were allowed into this magnificent cloister also. Access was given by ringing a doorbell that is in the basilica just off the Knave. It was one of those moments that lingers in the mind, having rung there was a pause and we waited. Initially we thought it wouldn’t be opened but as we turned to walk away the bolts on the other side rattled and the door creaked open. A middle-aged nun greeting us warmly with a smile and stood back to allow us enter the sheltered cloister. We wandered around here for at least twenty minutes enjoying the peace in the middle of Rome. Fixed to the wall were a number of old stone carvings and some small frescoes that had survived.
Then we saw a rather crude sign, indicating the Chapel of Saint Sylvester. It triggered a memory! But I couldn’t quite recall what exactly that was. So we wandered over, curiosity getting the proverbial of us, and were faced with another door and a bell to ring. We rang and a nun dutifully appeared. She indicated no photographs and a donation for restoration was encouraged. I stepped in. And the below images are what I was faced with. The reason there were pictures was because I went out, gave a donation of €20 to the nun and was told by the same startled nun to take as many as I wanted! Obviously the encouraged donations are few and far between!
1. Depicts Christ Enthroned. Surrounded by the Apostles. It depicts the Emperor Constantine falling ill to Leprosy following on from this there are riders sent forth to search for a cure.
2. The first panel depicts the riders arrival to the Pope, Sylvester I. What follows is an illustration of Pope Sylvester instructing the Emperor Constantine in the Christian faith. What can also be seen in this series of panels is the presence of 7 towers which represent the 7 Hills of Rome. This is probably to emphasize the running theme of the ultimate donation of Rome by the Emperor Constantine to the Papacy. What follows in the final panel is the curing of Constantine through the waters of baptism.
3. This depicts the formal donation of Constantine to Pope Sylvester of the city of Rome, again here depicted as the 7 towers on the 7 hills of Rome. What is being passed between the two is the Imperial Tiara indicating the Emperors temporal authority being handed over to the Papacy. Constantine’s other hand grasps the reigns of a horse.