Please make your way towards the exit, to find the last two altars: the smaller one is dedicated to martyr saints, while the larger altar is that dedicated to Bishop Peter of Salerno. The saint is painted on the small apse behind the altar, represented between Saints Aurelia and Noemisia. The fresco is dated 1324 and is attributable to Lello de Urbe, painter of the Cavallini School who was active in the city of Naples and throughout the region of Lazio during the first half of the 14th century. This is the same artist who painted the icon of the presbyter Raynaldo which you saw earlier, in Our Saviour’s Chapel.
On the vault by the exit staircase are the Prophets Isaiah, David, Salomon and Daniel who are announcing our Messiah’s birth, while the Nursing Madonna on the wall below represents the fulfilment of their words.
These magnificent paintings were restored between 1987 and 1994, thanks to what was then Rome’s Central Institute for Restoration. It was an accurate cleaning and consolidation work, thanks to which the paintings went back on public display in exceptional condition. Because of its great state of conservation, considerable extension and themes represented, this astounding Crypt is often referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of the Middle Ages”.
You are welcome to stay in the Crypt while the lights stay on, should you wish to spend a little longer admiring the rich colours and precious decorations which have attracted visitors for the past 800 years. Once the lights switch off, please exit the Crypt and make your way to the Lapidarium.