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The courtyard in front of the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome. 
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The courtyard in front of the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome.
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The early 13th-century cloister of the Augustinian abbey by the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome. 
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The early 13th-century cloister of the Augustinian abbey by the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome.
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Inside the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome. 
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Inside the Santi Quattro Coronati church on the Caelian Hill in Rome.

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.

"Santi Quattro Coronati" means the Four Holy Crowned Ones [i.e. martyrs], and refers to the fact that the saints' names are not known, and therefore referred to with their number, and that they were martyrs, since the crown, together to the branches of palm, is an ancient symbol of martyrdom. According to the Passion of St. Sebastian, the four saints were soldiers who refused to sacrifice to Aesculapius, and therefore were killed by order of Emperor Diocletian (284-305). (Text from Wikipedia).

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Inside the ancient basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo on the Caelian Hill in Rome. 
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Inside the ancient basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo on the Caelian Hill in Rome.

Wikipedia: The earliest church was consecrated by Pope Simplicius between 468 and 483. It was dedicated to the protomartyr Saint Stephen, whose body had been discovered a few decades before in the Holy Land, and brought to Rome. The church was the first in Rome to have a circular plan, inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Originally the church had three concentric ambulatories flanked by 22 Ionic columns, surrounding the central circular space surmounted by a tambour (22 m high and 22 m wide). There were 22 windows in the tambour but most of them were walled up in the 15th century restoration. The outermost corridor was later demolished.

The church was embellished by Pope John I and Pope Felix IV in the 6th century. In 1130 Innocent II had three transversal arches added to support the dome.

In the Middle Ages, Santo Stefano Rotondo was in the charge of the Canons of San Giovanni in Laterano, but as time went on it fell unto disrepair. In the middle of the 15th century, Flavio Biondo praised the marble columns, marble covered walls and cosmatesque works-of-art of the church, but he added that unfortunately "nowadays Santo Stefano Rotondo has no roof". Blondus claimed that the church was built on the remains of an ancient Temple of Faunus. Excavations in 1969 to 1975 revealed that the building was actually never converted from a pagan temple but was always a church, erected under Constantine I in the first half of the 4th century.

In 1454, Pope Nicholas V entrusted the ruined church to the Pauline Fathers, the only Catholic Order founded by Hungarians. This is the reason why Santo Stefano Rotondo later became the unofficial church of the Hungarians in Rome. The church was restored by Bernardo Rossellino, it is presumed under the guidance of Leon Battista Alberti.

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St. Stephen's martyrdom (Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)The 7th century mosaic in the chapel of Sts. Primus and Felician, Santo Stefano Rotondo, RomeSanto Stefano Rotondo, Rome
Inside the Santo Stefano Rotondo church on the Caelian Hill in Rome. 
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Inside the Santo Stefano Rotondo church on the Caelian Hill in Rome.
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Episcopal throne of Pope Gregory the Great (Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)The Renaissance burial monument of archdeacon János Lászai, 1523 (Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)Scenes of martyrdom - drastic frescoes by Niccolò Pomarancio and Antonio Tempesta (Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)Scenes of martyrdom - drastic frescoes by Niccolò Pomarancio and Antonio Tempesta (Santo Stefano Rotondo, Rome)
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Thursday, Nov 2, 2017: On the walls of Palácio da Pena in Sintra, Portugal
Palácio da Pena
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