Tough to keep your head down in Santa Prassede, when there’s so much up to see. …up for the amazing medieval mosaic in the apse, depicting Prassede and her sister Pudenziana’s “introduction” to Christ. …up to contemplate the column to which Christ was tied and whipped. …up locating the square halos of Episcopa Theodo(ra!) and Pope Paschal Ist, and so on..
With all that up, you might miss the down. Look down instead and…
…wha?! Another Cosmateque floor?! PSHHH! BIG DEAL! In Rome they’re a dime a dozen, you say!
Ok, so you’re right. However, all the other churches graced by the Cosmati family’s beautiful medieval stonework (such as Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria in Trastevere, San Saba, San Paolo fuori le Mura, the Aracoeli, Santa Maria in Cosmedin, San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, etc etc), are far more visited. And so…?
This means that the 8-900 years worth of feet over those other floors has quite consumed them, rubbing away the softer white marble and leaving lumpy ridges of all the smaller colored stones. In short, kind of like an old rug, they’re worn out.
Not Santa Prassede though. The entire floor is for the most part even and smooth like glass, the infinite variations of the stones within the very repetitive geometric designs even more stunning than elsewhere, more whole. Thanks to this being a lesser known church, fewer people over the centuries visiting it has meant that this Cosmatesque floor is one of the best preserved ones there is.
Mi raccomando, remember to look down.