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Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio

Coordinates: 41°53′01″N 12°28′44″E / 41.883647°N 12.478847°E / 41.883647; 12.478847
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Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio
Basilica of Saints Boniface and Alexius on the Aventine Hill
Sant'Alessio all'Aventino
Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e Alessio
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41°53′01″N 12°28′44″E / 41.883647°N 12.478847°E / 41.883647; 12.478847
LocationPiazza Sant’Alessio 23, Rome
TraditionRoman Rite
Religious orderSomaschi Fathers
Statustitular church, minor basilica
Founded4th century
DedicationBoniface of Tarsus and Alexius of Rome
Architect(s)Giambattista Nolli, Tommaso De Marchis
Architectural typeBaroque, Romanesque

The Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e(d) Alessio is a basilica, rectory church served by the Somaschans, and titular church for a cardinal-priest on the Aventine Hill in the third prefecture of central Rome, Italy.

It is dedicated to Saint Boniface of Tarsus and Saint Alexius, the former the original and the latter added in the 10th century. It lies on Piazza Sant’Alessio 23, near the historical gardens of St. Alexius and Via di santa Sabina.


Icon of Madonna di Sant’ Alessio (Madonna of St. Alexis; Madonna of Intercession)
The Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament and Madonna di Sant'Alessio in Basilica of the Saints Bonifacio and Alexis

Founded between the 3rd and 4th centuries, it was restored in 1216 by Pope Honorius III (some columns of his building survive in the present building's eastern apse); in 1582; in 1743 designed by Giovanni Battista Nolli and in the 1750s reelaborated by Tommaso De Marchis (his main altar survives); and between 1852 and 1860 by the Somaschi Fathers, who still serve it as a rectory church. The 16th century style facade, elaborated from the De Marchis phase, is built onto the medieval-style quadriportico.

The church has a Romanesque campanile. On the south side of the nave is the funerary monument Eleonora Boncompagni Borghese of 1693, to a design of Giovan Contini Batiste, and in the south transept the Chapel of Charles IV of Spain, with the icon Madonna di sant'Alessio, an Edessa icon of the Intercession of the Madonna dating from the 12-13th centuries, thought to have been painted by St Luke the Evangelist and brought from the East by St Alexius. The church also contains the tombstone of Peter Savelli (of the same family as Pope Honorius III).

In a Romanesque crypt that survives below the church, the main altar contains relics of St Thomas of Canterbury. The crypt's 12th-century wall of frescoes depicts the Agnus Dei and symbols of the Four Evangelists, and on the north aisle St Gerolamo Emiliani introducing orphans to the Virgin by Jean Francois De Troy, and at the end of the aisle The Holy Steps and the titular church of Saint Alexius in wood and stucco by Andrea Bergondi.

Connected to the basilica are the buildings of the former Benedictine monastery, which accepted the Camaldolese reforms of St. Romuald in the 10th century. The buildings now belong to the Italian state.

In 2015,[1] and again on 29 June 2019, the discovery of a Medieval fresco in an exceptional state of preservation and integrity was noticed by the Italian press. The painting has been restored and its subject has been identified by the Italian art historian Claudia Viggiani with Christ the Pilgrim.[2][3][4] The fresco was firstly discovered in 1965 by the Italian Genio Civile during the stabilization's works of the bell tower, and then discarded for forty years, until 2005.


Cardinal title[edit]

The basilica has been a titular church for Cardinal-priests (the second order) from 1587, originally called Sant'Alessio.

In the 19th century, the former dedication of the basilica was renewed, and from that time on the official name of the basilica and the cardinal titulus are Santi Bonifacio e(d) Alessio.


(All Italian unless specified)


  1. ^ Giulia Ronchi (Jul 1, 2019). ""Exceptional" finding in Saint Alessio, Rome. But it was known by years ago" (in Italian). Archived from the original on July 7, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "Middle Age fresco discovered after 900 years". lsussidiario.net (in Italian). Rome. Jun 29, 2019. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  3. ^ "Rome: discovered an exceptional Middle Age fresco". TG5 (in Italian). Jun 29, 2019. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  4. ^ "Rome, found an untouched fresco of the Middle Age period". Corriere della Sera. Rome. Jun 29, 2019. Archived from the original on July 7, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to Santi Bonifacio e Alessio at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
San Bartolomeo all'Isola
Landmarks of Rome
Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio
Succeeded by
San Camillo de Lellis