Vatican News

Rome’s St. Paul’s Basilica gives a rare peep into medieval Rome

New archeological finds at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, shed new light on its medieval past.

Historical sources show that in 880 the complex of St. Paul’s Basilica, where the remains of St. Paul are enshrined, was fortified by a wall by Pope John VIII to defend it from invasions by Saracens.

The archaeological site of “Orto dei Monaci”, the Italian for “Monks’ Orchard”,  is related to these fortifications, and gives an idea of the daily life of the Benedictine monks in medieval Rome. 

Successive popes wanted to provide accommodation and facilities to the numerous pilgrims who would flock to the tomb of St. Paul.  Among the numerious curiosities of the finds are a channel for water supply, a portico with columns, a small belfry, construction material and implements, community rooms and a well fed by groundwater springs.

Five years after its inauguration in 2013, the archeological site was reopened to the public on 28 June, with new visually suggestive experience using museography and the play of light.  


Glimpses of archeological finds at the "Monks' Orchard" of Rome's St. Paul's Basilica.
12 July 2018, 15:39