Rome, Italy: Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains: Central Nave of Church of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius

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May 20, 2017
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Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains , San Paolo alle Tre Fontane , Church of the Martyrdom of Saint Paul , Church of St. Paul the Apostle , Abbazia delle Tre Fontane , Abbey of the Three Fountains , Church of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius , Santa Maria Scala Coeli , Roof Trusses
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Four miles outside the city of Rome, Italy is the Abbey of the Three Fountains, run by Cisterian monks belonging to the Trappist order. The complex contains three churches, of which Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains (Church of the Martyrdom of Saint Paul; San Paolo alle Tre Fontane; Church of St. Paul the Apostle) is most sacred. This church was built on the site where Saint Paul was beheaded at Emperor Nero's order. As a Roman citizen, Saint Paul could not be executed within the city. The other two churches in the complex are the earliest one (shown in the photograph): the Benedictine Church of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius, built in 626; and the 16th century Roman Catholic Church of Saint Maria Scala Coeli, where Saint Paul stopped to pray for the last time before he was beheaded. The legend is that Paul's head bounced three times and fountains sprang up at each spot; hence, the title of "Three Fountains." Actually, fountains already existed at the site when Paul was beheaded. The Benedictine church dedicated to the two saints is built in the Roman style and has a severe, unadorned interior in a Latin cross plan: a square apse and side chapels, with three naves. The central nave (pictured) is made of brick and features a roof with an arched vault, but when walls collapsed, the roof had to be completed with simple exposed trusses.
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