Property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto Ministry of the Interior

The Case Romane del Celio, located on the Clivo di Scauro between the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus, lies below the Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the slopes of the Caelian Hill. The houses were opened to the public in 2002.

Together with the excavation of San Clemente they represent one of the most fascinating subterranean spaces in Rome due to their extremely well conserved frescoed rooms and because of the artistic and religious value of the site.

The houses, known also as the home of the martyrs John and Paul, contain more than four centuries of history and attest to the coexistence and transition between paganism and Christianity.
The frescoed rooms, originally shops and storerooms of a multi-storied working class building (insula), were in fact transformed during the 3rd century AD into an elegant upper class residence (domus). Within the rooms, you can admire some of the most beautiful frescoes of Late Antiquity.

The Case Romane del Celio are a property of the Fondo Edifici di Culto, a division of the Ministry of the Interior, and are managed exclusively by Spazio Libero, a social cooperative society in Rome. 

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The Fondo Edifici di Culto (F.E.C.), established by law 20 May 1985 n. 222, is the title-holding entity of an extensive portfolio of historical and artistic interests, mostly churches, originating from the religious corporations suppressed by the so-called “laws overturning the ecclesiastical axis” (“leggi eversive dell'asse ecclesiastico”) in the second half of the 19th century.

The F.E.C., itself a legal entity, is administered today by the Central Directorate for the Administration of the Fondo Edifici di Culto based within the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration in the Ministry of the Interior. The institutional purpose of the F.E.C. is to use the revenue derived from the management of its holdings for the conservation, restoration, protection, and enhancement of the approximately 700 religious buildings under its jurisdiction.

The restorations, carried out by a team of specialists and technicians led by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Artistici, Storici e Demoantropologici, have enabled the recovery and conservation of precious decorative paintings, threatened by the particular conditions of the spaces’ subterranean climate. The results of recent studies are in the process of being published.

Spazio Libero is a society founded 20 September 2000 by Marina Giustini and Francesca Nardi from the experience of the community project “Youthstart – Impara L’arte” (“Youthstart – Learn Art”), supported by the Fondo Edifici di Culto of the Ministry of the Interior and implemented by the consortium of the Cooperazioni di Solidarietà Sociale CGM and by Sol.Co. Roma.

Today, Spazio Libero is an o.n.l.u.s. Type B social cooperative, formed by 9 partners of whom 30% belong to disadvantaged groups, that specializes in the promotion of cultural heritage and tourism services in Rome.

Since 2002 Spazio Libero has managed the Case Romane del Celio, below the Basilica of Saints John and Paul, as well as, since 2007, the Chapel of Cardinal Bessarion in the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome, both of which are supported by the proprietary authority, the Fondo Edifici di Culto of the Ministry of the Interior.

Over the years, this expertise has produced a number of important projects and innovative cultural activities that are characterized by the way in which they harmoniously combine the necessity of stewardship and development of cultural heritage sites with the need for their use and enjoyment.