BASILICA DI S. PAOLO
Constantine the Great built this church at the request of Pope St. Silvester, in a farm belonging to Lucina, a Roman matron, on a cemetery in which the body of St. Paul had once been buried. Theodosius began to enlarge it in 386; Honorius, his successor, finished, and several Popes have since repaired and embellished it. This majestic cathedral is one of the four possessing a holy door. The front is adorned with Mosaic, made in the 14th century, by Peter Cavallini; and a fine portico, built by Benedict XIII., from the designs of Anthony Canevari; it is sustained by twelve columns, of which four are granite. The great door in the middle is of bronze, and was made at Constantinople in 1070, at the expense of Pantaleone Castelli, Roman consul. The interior of this grand temple is 240 feet long without reckoning the choir, and 138 wide. Its principal decoration consists in 120 pillars, of which 80 divide the church into five naves : in the middle one are forty, that is to say, twpnty on each side ; twentyfour of these are made out of one piece of the precious violet marble supposed to have been found in Adrian's tomb: they are Corinthian, and partly fluted, thirty-six feet high, and eleven in circumference. The sixteen other pillars are of Parian marble; and the forty in the two small naves are of Grecian marble : the two immense ones which sustain the great arch are of Sabine marble, fortytwo feet high, and fifteen in circumference. Of the eight in the crossway, seven are of Egyptian granite, and one of cipollino. Those that decorate the altars are all of porphyry, and thirty in number. The pavement of the church is formed of marble fragments with ancient inscriptions.
Over the great arch of the principal nave is a Mosaic, made under St. Leo the Great, in 440 ; where is seen our Saviour with the twentyfour elders of the Apocalypse, .and the apostles Peter and Paul. The walls of this nave are all adorned with ancient pictures, injured by the damp. There is a series of portraits of Popes, which St. Leo the Great ordered to be painted from St. Peter's time to his own. It was continued by Pope St. Symmacus. Benedict XIV. repaired these paintings, and added the Popes that were wanting ; this series has since been continued down to the present Pope, Pius VII., amounting altogether to 253. In the middle of the crossway is the great altar, under which is kept the body of St. Paul. This altar is adorned with four columns of beautiful porphyry which sustain a canopy, terminated by a Gothic ornament, in form of a pyramid.
Annexed to this cathedral is a fine cloister, surrounded with double arches, sustained by small columns, of which a great part are incrusted with Mosaic, as is also the entablature. Under the portico are some antique marbles and various inscriptions enchased on the walls.
A new Picture of Rome, and its Environs, in the form of an Itinerary - Mariano Vasi - 1819