During the night of July 15th/16th, 1823, the ancient church of San Paolo fuori le Mura
(St Paul Outside the Walls) was almost completely destroyed by fire.
Thankfully, the 13th century cloister, one of the most beautiful in Rome, survived the conflagration.
Pope Leo XII (r. 1823-29) ordered the immediate reconstruction of the basilica, which had been founded at the end of the 4th century. The transept was consecrated by Pope Gregory XVI (r. 1831-46) in 1840 and the complete church by Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-78) on December 10th, 1854.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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