St Anselm on the Aventine (In Italian: Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino) is a Roman Catholic church, monastery and college located on Cavalieri di Malta Square on the Aventine Hill in Rome’s Ripa rione. It is named in honor of Saint Anselm of Canterbury.
The buildings were designed by Hildebrand de Hemptinne and Fidelis von Stotzingen and built in 1900. The International College of Sant’ Anselmo is located here, as is the seat of the Abbot Primate of the Federation of the ‘Black Monks’ (which includes all monks under the Rule of St Benedict except the Cistercians and the Trappists). The attached abbey is called Badia Primaziale (Primatial Abbey) of the Order of Saint Benedict. The complex also hosts the Pontificio Ateneo Sant Anselmo, including the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, and the Philosophy and Theology faculties.
The church has a basilical plan, and its mosaics have only the figures in mosaic and no background. The paschal candlestick is modern but in the Cosmatesque style. The crypt can be visited, through a door by the altar of the Blessed Sacrament. Behind this altar is a statue of St Benedict, with his arms raised in prayer – the posture in which he died.
In the atrium, there is a bronze statue of St Anselm, made in the late 20th century. From here, it is possible to see Santa Maria del Priorato, which lies in a complex that is closed to the public. In the entrance to the monastery, reached from the atrium, is a Roman mosaic of Orpheus that was found when the college was built.
Sant’Anselmo is built in a neo-romanic style, atop of Roman ruins which date from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD. These remains are visible and visitable, by arrangement, under both the first courtyard and in the basement. The church is mainly known to the local Roman people because of the performance of Gregorian chant during the Sunday mass.
The church was built by Francesco Vespignani between 1892 and 1896, on a land given by the Knights of Malta to the Benedictines. Vespignani built it according to the project of the Belgium Benedictine abbot Hildebrand de Hemptinne. The church is made of three naves, divided by granite columns. The ceiling is a truss and the apse is covered by a mosaic. The crypt is made of 5 naves.