Dominican Convent attached to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is where Galileo was
tried for his then heresy that the earth revolved around the sun. At
other times, the convent was visited by St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Dominic and
other noted saints.
The church is close to the Pantheon and as noted above, its exterior is
relatively nondescript. However, Bernini decided to grace
the location of the church with a small but interesting statue
of an elephant carrying an obelisk. Eye the elephant and then treat yourself
to a quick tour of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. You will be glad you
Saint Maria Sopra Minerva is located at Piazza della Minerva.
Pantheon is one of Rome's oldest buildings and many believe that it has remained
intact because it was converted to a church in the early 7th century, several
hundred years after it had been abandoned by the Empire. The church, which was dedicated
to Mary, Mother of God, and all martyrs, is not famous as a church, but
for the amazing building that forms its setting.
Unfortunately, while its
adoption as a working church is reputed to have helped preserve the building, various
popes harvested materials from the Pantheon for other purposes. For
example. the much of the interior and exterior brass plating was removed from
the Pantheon to mold cannons for Castle Sant'Angelo and for use in
in St. Peter's Basilica.
The Pantheon and its church are used in the plot to the popular novel and movie Angels &Demons, so expect
the crowds to be larger than usual.
The Basilica di San Clemente has one of the most beautiful interiors of any
church in the Eternal City. The apse consists of a
half-dome richly appointed with colorful mosaics that are considered among
the finest created during the Middle Ages. The altar is capped with a
temple-like top that marks the crypt of Pope Saint Clemente (one of the
The original church, which was destroyed by the Normans when
they sacked Rome in the 11th century, dates from the 4th century.
Interestingly, the earlier church incorporated the ruins of a
The current church was constructed in the 12th
century with a glorious attention to detail. The intricate, carved
ceiling is a masterpiece, as are the mosaics and unique floor tiling leading
to the altar. If you are in the neighborhood, don't pass up a
chance to see this gem.
The Basilica di San Clemente is located in the Piazza San Clemente
Built to celebrate two Milanese saints (Ambrose and Charles Borromeo), this 17th century church is compact and visually pleasing.
The colorful faux-marble support columns skinned with faux-marble pilasters
and the abundance of bright frescos help make this church a delight to
visit. The painting of Saints Ambrose and Charles behind the main
altar is also quite impressive.
The windowed drum supporting the dome, adds a lightness to the
interior and the glow radiating from the windowed barrel vault adds yet
another dimension that helps make this modestly-sized church a favorite of
many visitors to Rome. The church is also important to those who
regard Saint Charles Borromeo as their patron saint, since his heart is preserved in a reliquary near the sanctuary.
Saint Ambrogio and Charles is located along Via Del Corso.
dei Monti is the inviting church at the top of the
Spanish Steps next to the Piazza di Spagna.
Although the church is not as popular or as famous
as its neighboring attractions, it does compliment their
The Trinita was built by
the French King Louis XII and consecrated late in the 16th
century. During Napoleon's occupation of Rome, during the first decade
of the 19th century, the church was damaged. In addition, its art was removed
although returned after repairs had been made to the church. To be
honest, the outside and the location of the Trinita are what makes it a
favorite, but we thought you might like to know a little about its history
and see a photograph of its interior.
dei Monti is located on the Piazza Trinita dei Monti above the
Spanish Steps (LINK)
original church at this location dates from the early 5th century, although it was renovated
and expanded in the late 8th century. In the 17th century the church
was once again renovated, but was not restored to some of its
original glory until another renovation in the 20th century. The simple, airy, almost empty
look of this church is thought to reflect its original design. The large windows in
the drum and the numerous windows above the nave serve to provide an airy,
peaceful feeling that merges with the solemnity of the columns
edging the nave.
The church has a number of interesting,
modest frescos, although its mosaics appear to have disappeared during one
of the many renovations. The cypress door to the church may date from
the original construction. It consists of a number of panes (several
are missing) that depict scenes and stories from the Bible.
Santa Sabina is located on Via Santa Sabina
near the Piazza Pietro d'Illiria.
Santa Marie in Aracoeli, up the 124-step stairway to the left of the Cordonatta
on Capitoline Hill, is the official church of the Italian Senate. It is thought that the location occupied by the church sits atop earlier temples or
other types of monuments. The present church, which
appears to date from the mid 13th century, was built over or incorporated parts of an earlier church that
is thought to date from the 6th century.
The interior of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is divided into three modest naves
and has many interesting features created
by famous artists of the time. However, we think your attention will
be attracted by the church's columns, which were taken from other buildings
in the Forums and used here.
painted and gilded ceiling was offered as a tribute to the Blessed
Virgin in the 16th century to commemorate the crucial Battle of Lepanto (1571), when a coalition of Christian fleets defeated the Ottoman Turk
navy off the shores of western Greece, preventing the Ottomans from invading Rome and southern Europe.
The church hosts one of Rome's most popular Christmas celebrations, when
on Christmas Eve its stairway is illuminated with candles in preparation for a
midnight celebration where a wooden statue of the infant Jesus (Santo
Bambino) is unveiled and introduced to the crowd.
Santa Maria in Aracoeli is located on Capitoline Hill near the Piazza
Built inside the Baths of Diocletian in the 16th century, Santa Maria
degli Angeli was designed
by Michelangelo who incorporated many structural aspects of the baths into his
architectural plan. The exterior has been redesigned over the
centuries, although some sections still include the original walls from the
Baths of Diocletian, while the interior, with some modifications, still
reflects Michelangelo's original design. The church was built to honor the
Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christian slaves who were died constructing the
Baths of Diocletian (constructing the Baths was their punishment for
The church is known for pleasant interior,
as well as its Meridian line, a long, brass strip embedded in the floor,
which is illuminated by the sun shining through a small portal in the
ceiling. The Meridian was created to help track the seasons and
predict the dates of holy days.
Santa Maria degli Angeli is located on the
Piazza della Repubblica.
A beautiful church that is regarded as a
Baroque masterpiece, Sant'Andrea is considered one of Bernini's finest
works. The architecture of the Church and its interior decorations combine
to create a powerful statement. The construction dates from the 17th
Sant Andrea is located on Via del Quirinale, near the Palazzo Quirinale.
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