A Tourist in Rome - San Bartolomeo
|Location:||On Tiber Island|
|Metro:||Circo Massimo and Bus #160, or see it on my To the Forum Boarium and Beyond Walking Tour instead|
|Time:||About 20 minutes|
|Hours:||Monday-Saturday 9 AM-1 PM and 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM; Sunday 9 AM - 1 PM and 6:30 PM - 8 PM|
The Basilica of St. Bartolomeo on the Island was founded on Tiber Island at the end of the 10th century by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. It is located on the site of the ancient Temple of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, which was built here in 293 BC. The church holds the relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, which are held in an ancient Roman porphyry bathtub with lions' heads under the main altar of the church (3rd photo below). There is also a well in this church, but I was too rushed and failed to see it. The depths of the well use a style of brickwork which was used during the Republican period, and are thought to be part of the Temple of Aesculapius, while the current visible wellhead is much younger.
A four-sided obelisk-like monument with carvings of Saints Bartolomeo, Francis of Assisi, Paulinus of Nola and John of God, sculpted by Ignazio Jacometti, was erected in the center of the piazza in front of the church in 1869 (first and last photos below). There was once an ancient obelisk standing at this site, but it is gone and fragments of it are in various museums worldwide.