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Saint Ercolano’s church

Saint Ercolano’s church
Cultural itineraries Culture What to do

Leaving Ostia Antica, heading South, past the crossroad between via del Mare and via Ostiense, you take via di Castel Fusano. Immediately after the railway bridge, on the right, next to the cemetery, is the little church of St. Ercolano.

In the Acta Sanctorum you find the date of the martyrdom of Ercolano and Taurino, 5 th September 282. They are buried in Portus. Since the 5 th century, Ercolano is listed among Ostia’s martyrs. He is buried in Portus together with Aconzio, Nonno and Taurino. His name is also mentioned in three epigraphs: the first, found in Ostia, is now in St Pauls basilica; the second found in St. Ippolito in Isola Sacra mentions Ippolito and Taurino. The third is on a sarcophagus and it reminds us of the
transfer of Ercolano’s relics, thanks to pope Formoso, to the church of St. Giovanni Calabita, where it was found in the 17 th century.

The little church is on some ancient funerary structures dated i century. It was probably built in the 5 th century. What you see today on the facade comes from elsewhere and is far more modern (XIII century). The nave is today open. Some famous archaeologists are buried here (Giovanni Becatti and Raissa Calza). Under today’s perimeter there is a huge common grace created in the XX century, since it was the first cemetery built by the community coming from Romagna. On the front is a small portico with two Roman columns alongside.

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