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Ostia, Basilica di Pianabella

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Ostia, Basilica di Pianabella is a late 4th century ruined church, a few hundred metres to the south of the Porta Laurentina in the walls of the ancient town of Ostia. It is in a field on the other side of the Via dei Romagnoli and the railway, near the junction with the Via del Mare. Access is from the Via di Piana Bella, but it is not easy to find.

According to documentary sources, which do not give its dedication, it was restored by Bellator, bishop of Ostia at the end of the 5th century. It was restored again about a hundred years later, and finally in the first half of the ninth century. This means that it was probably one of the last of any of the churches, including the cathedral, of the old town to be in use. It must have fallen into ruin soon after its final restoration, and only foundations survive.

It was discovered in 1976 and fully excavated, so that the foundations are now exposed and visible. They have been capped with cement to preserve the stonework. The low walling is in "Opus Vittatum", meaning that the brick courses are separated by tiles. This was a large church, some 43m long and 16m wide, with a separate narthex and segmental apse but no aisles. The most interesting feature to survive is the stone-built grid of graves in front of the apse, which is the topmost of a stack of four with twenty-five graves in each stack. Between this group of graves, which run longitudinally, and the apse is a single stone-built grave placed laterally. This must have been of a very important person, and may even have been of a martyr venerated in the church.

External linksEdit

Wikimapia page showing location

Archeological description of basilica

Archeological website for Ostia

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