The Church of Sant’Erasmo of Formia
The first church of Sant’Erasmo has an ancient history. During the early years of Christianity, bishop Erasmus was captured during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian. He was subsequently tortured and disembowelled in Formia in the year 303 AD and became a martyr. The original church was constructed in the 4th century, on the site of the martyr’s burial tomb. Initially a tomb was built to preserve the relics of the saint and other martyrs and bishops were buried alongside his grave. Over the centuries In 604 the church underwent renovations and amplifications, during the time of Gregory the Great. During the 11th and 12th centuries the structure was renewed in a Romanesque form. In 1532 the building was severely damaged during attacks by the Turks.
The Church Exterior
The Church Interior
Inside the church has three naves and is of a Renaissance style. The ornate marble altar dates from the 18th century and there is the ancient wooden statue of Saint Erasmo. It houses several interesting paintings including one depicting the Madaonna della Noce, originally from the small rural church of the same name.
Under the presbytery is the crypt, on the site of the early Christian burial ground. It is decorated with ancient frescoes.