Basilica of San Giorgio in Velabro – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Basilica of San Giorgio in Velabro

This medieval church in Rome was almost destroyed following a terrorist attack in 1993. 

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The Basilica of San Giorgio in Velabro is a religious building located in Rome, edificated on the former swampy area of Velabro and dedicated to Saint George. The origins of the church are not clear. It’s mentioned in various Early Middle documents, but these could also be a nod to a separate building. 

The current church was likely constructed in the 7th-century and was restored several times over its history. This included many additions that radically altered the original appearance of the building. The last major restoration work occurred during the 1920s.

In 1993, San Giorgio in Velabro was heavily damaged by an explosion caused by a car bomb parked in front of the church. No fatalities were reported, but the portico collapsed and the explosion blew a large opening into the wall of the main church.

Simultaneously, another car bomb exploded in Rome near the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, while another one exploded in Milan. These attacks were carried out by members of the Sicilian Mafia to intimidate representatives of state institutions. This was part of a larger and violent terrorism campaign that shook all of Italy between 1992 and 1993. The church was later restored and reopened in 1996.