The Domus Sessoriana holds centuries of history. It takes its name from the Palazzo Sessoriano which has been from the third century the residence of the last emperors, from Septimius Severus to Constantine and his mother Helena. During the middle of the third century A.D., the danger of barbarian invasions necessitated the strengthening of defenses around Rome. The Emperor Aurelian ordered, thus, the construction of a new fortified wall that was built between 271 and 275 AD. The section of the Aurelian Walls that encompasses the area of Santa Croce is one of the best preserved sections of the entire walls of Rome. In the area south-east of the Basilica have been brought to light the remains of the Circus Varianus, built after the will of Emperor Heliogabalus (218-222). Adjacent to the Basilica and the Monastery are the remains of the Amphitheatre Castrense which stood on the highest point in the area and was included by Aureliano (270-275) in the defensive enclosure of the Eternal City. Its name comes from Castrum which, in late antique epoch, assumed also the meaning of imperial residence. It was used as the court performances and military exercises. The remains of the Amphitheatre - clearly visible from the roof garden of the Domus Sessoriana - have followed the events of the Monastery which used its materials for the construction of new buildings in the half of the 18th century.
In the fourth century. the complex was inhabited by Flavia Julia Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I, who renovated the so-called Terme Eleniane, of which were found some rooms belonging to the tank that fed. Elena then decided to draw from a rectangular room, the first church from which derives the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, where preserving the Relics of Christ she miraculously found on the Calvary. The structure is built from a monastery, built in the tenth century, after the wish of Pope Benedict VI and assigned for centuries to various monastic orders (Benedictines, Carthusians, Cistercians) until 2009.
The restoration, rehabilitation and restructuring necessary to promote and ensure the optimal use of the Domus Sessoriana was performed with the aim of ensuring the proper use of the monumental complex in the respect and enhancement of its heritage. The eighteenth century interiors of the Monastery visible today, preserved and restored in their original colors, were the reference point for all interventions in the building. The whitewashed, the terracotta floors, the restoration of the stucco frames of that time, the use of stone and special installation techniques, the use of lighting devices, everything has been made in full compliance with the formal aesthetic genius loci and its cultural stratification.
All works have been performed under the direction of the High Security officials of the Superintendent of The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
Domus Sessoriana coincides with a large area of the Monastery completely renovated, equipped with every comfort and immersed in a scenery of inestimable value. It has 80 rooms of various sizes and types: single, double, twin, triple and a family room with 4 beds, plus a suite, all derived from the cells where the monks lived, which are accessed through the wide and long corridors, characteristic of every monastery. Each bedroom of the Domus Sessoriana has a private bathroom, tiled floors, lime finishing at the bottom of the walls, furniture crafts manifactured following precise indications given by the Superintendence, combined with modern comforts: air conditioning, refrigerator, safe, TV. The entire facility is equipped with sophisticated devices of lighting technology, fire and security systems operated by qualified personnel.
The building consists of two blocks: the Conventual Wing, built on Roman walls, is composed of a first level with a hall, reception, bar, reading and conversation rooms, a large conference room and toilets. The first level leads to the upper floor, thanks to a modern elevator with a cabin and a transparent structure that allows the view of incomparable paintings of the nineteenth century.This floor of the Conventual Wing is entirely dedicated to large rooms that are accessed through an impressive hallway. A room can be used for seminars or conferences; other rooms can be used for meetings with groups of smaller size.
Using the same lift, guests have access to an intermediate floor, or Piano Monaci, and to the floor located in the attic floor where the smaller rooms, but always equipped with the same services and comforts of the other ones, allow you to look out the window the rooftops of the Monastery and Basilica, having a close sight of the Romanesque bell tower. At the Piano Monaci will also be available a meeting room, equipped with the best technology.
At the highest level there is the roof garden, from where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of Rome and cross with the look centuries of history: you can admire the gardens of the Monastery, located within the perimeter of the Amphitheatre Castrense (the second preserved Roman amphitheater after the Coliseum), the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the domes and rooftops of the city. On this terrace breakfast is served: outdoor or in a covered glass area perfectly climatized, ideal for winter days or for summer torrid ones. The roof garden, however, remains accessible to guests throughout the day, so you can linger to admire the sunset or sunrise.
The second block, called the "Palazzina", is connected with the Conventual Wing both from an external location, which is developed on the architectural remains of the Amphitheatre Castrense, both from an internal path, and has five floors beautifully furnished.
All corridors and halls and intermediate terraces are furnished with sofas, chairs and sun umbrellas that will allow all customers to use them for reading and relaxing. In addition, you can take a walk along the archaeological excavations to reach the Bar Cafeteria, where you can have lunch.
The recent restoration work, besides equipping the Domus Sessoriana of a larger number of rooms to better meet customer needs, a very ambitious project intervention, because of the characteristics of the masonry structure, but designed to provide free service to guests, indispensable in the modern hospitality.