The church of San Bartolomeo all' Isola was founded in the 10th century by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (r. 996-1002) to honour his friend St Adalbert, Bishop of Prague. The church was restored in 1624 by the Roman architect Orazio Torriani (1602-57).
The inscription on the facade reads: IN HAC BASILICA REQVIESCAT CORPVS S BARTHOLOMAEI APOSTOLI (In this basilica rests the body of St Bartholomew the Apostle).
The nave is flanked by 14 antique columns. A porphyry basin from the Baths of Caracalla serves as both the high altar and a reliquary for the (putative) bones of St Bartholomew.
Set into the chancel steps is a medieval well-head, which bears the figures of Christ, a bishop (either St Paulinus or St Adalbert), St Bartholomew, and Emperor Otto III. Letters next to their heads form the inscription: OS PVTEI SANCTI CIRCVMDANT ORBE ROTANTI (The saints surround the mouth of the well as the orb rotates).
The church stands on the Isola Tiberina, a small island in the river Tiber, which was once the site of the ancient Temple of Aesculapius (early 3rd century BCE).