San Bartolomeo all'Isola

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island
Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola
Basilica S. Bartholomaei in Insula
Roma-san bartolomeo all'isola.jpg
Façade of San Bartolomeo all'Isola on the Tiber Island
Basic information
Location Italy Rome, Italy
Geographic coordinates 41°53′25″N 12°28′42″E / 41.89028°N 12.47833°E / 41.89028; 12.47833Coordinates: 41°53′25″N 12°28′42″E / 41.89028°N 12.47833°E / 41.89028; 12.47833
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Rite Oriental rite
Year consecrated 10th Century
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica, Rectory church
Leadership Francis Eugene George
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Direction of façade NW
Length 45 metres (148 ft)
Width 22 metres (72 ft)
Width (nave) 12 metres (39 ft)

The Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island (Italian: Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola , Latin: Basilica S. Bartholomaei in Insula) is a titular minor basilica, located in Rome, Italy. It was founded at the end of the 10th century by Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor. It contains the relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle,[1] and is located on Tiber Island, on the site of the former temple of Aesculapius, which had cleansed the island of its former ill-repute among the Romans and established its reputation as a hospital, continued under Christian auspices today.

The Cardinal priest of the Titulus S. Bartholomaei in Insula is Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago.

Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola, with the Torre dei Caetani behind


In Roman times, the Temple of Aesculapius stood on the site of the modern church. The entire Isola Tiberina had actually been covered in marble in an effort to make the island look like a ship. The prow can still be seen today.[2]

Emperor Otto built this church, which was initially dedicated to his friend Adalbert of Prague. It was renovated by Pope Paschal II in 1113 and again in 1180, after its rededication upon the arrival of the relics of the apostle Bartholomew. The relics were sent to Rome from Benevento, where they had arrived from Armenia in 809. The relics are located within an ancient Roman porphyry bath with lions' heads, under the main altar. The marble wellhead bears the figures of the Savior, Adalbert and Bartholomew and Otto III.

The church was badly damaged by a flood in 1557 and was reconstructed, with its present Baroque façade, in 1624, to designs of Orazio Torriani. Further restorations were undertaken in 1852. The interior of the church preserves fourteen ancient Roman columns and two lion supports that date from the earliest reconstruction of the basilica.

In 2000, it was dedicated by John Paul II to the memory of the new martyrs of the 20th and 21st century. This memorial is taken care of by the Community of Sant'Egidio, who also painted the icon on the main altar.

San Bartolomeo all'Isola is a titulus (Titulus S. Bartholomaei in Insula) of a Cardinal Priest, at present Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago.


In the center of the piazzetta before the church is a four-sided guglia with saints in niches by the sculptor Ignazio Jacometti, erected here in 1869.

The 12th-century tower near the church, the Torre dei Caetani, is all that remains of the medieval castello erected on the island by the Pierleoni.


  1. ^ S. Prete, "Reliquie e culto di S. Bartolomeo ap. dal Medio Oriente a Roma all'Isola Tiberina", Studi e Ricerche sull'Oriente Cristiano, Rome 5.3 (1982:173-181)
  2. ^ "Isola Tiberina Is Adorably Tiny, Old & Roman". The Huffington Post. Huffington Post. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  • Touring Club Italiano (TCI), 1965. Roma e dintorni

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Richiello, Maria. S. Bartolomeo all'Isola: storia e restauro (Rome) 2001.