The Basilica di San Sebastiano fuori le Mura (St Sebastian Outside the Walls) is one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome. It was founded in the 4th century when it was dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul and known as the Basilica Apostolorum. By the Middle Ages it had been re-dedicated to St Sebastian, who was thought to have been buried in the catacombs below.
The present church was built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1577-1633) by Flaminio Ponzio (1560-1613). The dedicatory inscription on the facade reads: SCIPIO ⋅ CARD ⋅ BVRGHENSIVS ⋅ S ⋅ R ⋅ E ⋅ MAIOR ⋅ POENITENTIARIVS ⋅ AN ⋅ DOM ⋅ MDCXXII.
The beautiful wooden ceiling, which is intricately carved with the heraldic dragons and eagles of the Borghese family, is the work of Giovanni Vasanzio (c. 1550-1621). The Martyrdom of St Sebastian, in the centre, is the work of Annibale Durante. The ceiling also sports the coat of arms of Pope Gregory XVI (r. 1831-46), who ordered its restoration.
The Chapel of St Sebastian has a very fine statue of the saint by Giuseppe Giorgetti (fl. 1668-82).
The huge marble bust of Christ the Saviour (1678) is a late work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680).
The Cappella Albani(last chapel on the right) is dedicated to Pope St Fabian (r. 236-50).