The churches of Rome, part I

We thought about where to do our family vacation different,and the vote came to Rome , Italy, I was a very memorable family visit looking back it was even better. I have several posts on Rome in my blog, and had one with so many churches in it that decided to split into 3 posts with more text using the older pictures, Hope you enjoy my churches of Rome !

I found the most unique element the churches, after all whether we believe or not ,they mark the cultural essence of a country looking thru the churches. And Rome has plenty, about 900 of them!!! It seems more churches than bars lol ! I would like to tell you our favorites.

The Oratory of the Holy Sacrament al Tritone ( Via del Tritone), located in Piazza Poli, is also known as the “Oratory of the Guardian Angel” , but in essence it is the oratory of the church of Santa Maria in Via , built for the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament between 1576 and 1596. In 1681 it was restructured in a fully Baroque style; in the 18C the building was completely rebuilt. In the second half of the 19C or about 1875 the interior was decorated. Particularly elegant and lively is the façade ,the lower order has a beautiful portal framed by two pilasters and surmounted by two heads of winged angels; on the sides two pairs of semi-columns, with precious Ionic capitals, support a high broken tympanum, above which there are two marble statues,depicting “Faith” and “Hope”. 

roma-church oratory-angel-in-custody-aug13

The Rome tourist office on the oratory :

The Basilica of Santi Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso (via del Corso ,437) is a minor basilica, and traditionally the church of the Lombards of Rome, including Milanese. Its construction began in 1612, on a 10C building. The title of cardinal of this church traditionally belongs to the Archbishop of Milan. On August 29, 1471, Pope Sixtus IV approved the founding of the Brotherhood of Lombards, who were numerous in Rome, and ceded to them the Church of Saint Nicholas of Toffo on the Champ de Mars. It was renamed Saint Ambrose, then also dedicated to Saint Charles, after the canonization of Charles Borromeo in 1610. The church was rebuilt by the brotherhood. It was originally designed in 1612 , then built the dome and the apse. The third largest dome in Rome. The vast interior is divided into three naves with a barrel vault and three chapels on each side. It is very bright, decorated with stucco, faux marble and frescoes. It is one of the best examples of late Roman Baroque theatrical pageantry. The church includes a large ambulatory behind the altar, the only one in Rome, which was inspired by Milan Cathedral. In a niche behind the altar is the precious relic of the heart of Saint Charles.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Basilica of the Holy Apostles ( Piazza Santi Apostoli, 51 ) was founded in the Byzantine era, in the 6C by Pope Pelagius I. It houses the relics of the apostles Philip and James. It is the only basilica in Rome that was not built over pre-existing Roman buildings. The architectural model of the early church was that of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles of Constantinople. This large church decorated with mosaics was destroyed in 1348 by an earthquake. It was not restored until the 15C by Martin V of the Colonna family. The porch in front of the facade was erected and the apse of the basilica decorated with a magnificent fresco of the Ascension, and whose perspectives are remarkable. After reconstruction in the 18C, the fragments of this fresco were distributed between the Vatican and the Quirinal Palace. Adjacent to Palazzo Colonna, in front of the unadorned neoclassical façade by Valadier (1827), the late 15C porch spans nine arches on two different orders. The first with its octagonal pillars bears the coat of arms of the Della Rovere family on the capitals. The second with its Ionic columns framing the openings formed a loggia. It was closed by Carlo Rainaldi in 1681, with baroque windows and the balustrade bearing the statues of Christ and the twelve apostles.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica 

The official name of the Basilica is Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs or Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, ( Piazza della Repubblica ) It was Pope Pio IV who decided to install this church in the imposing Tepidarium and in the central hall of the Baths of Diocletian in 1561. It was Michelangelo who was in charge of designing this conversion. Modifications were made in the 17C by Vanvitelli, including the rich interior decoration. The facade corresponds to the former exedra of the Calidarium. The grand and harmonious interior is in the shape of a Greek cross, the arms corresponding to the central body of the ancient baths. The entrance vestibule is on the site of the Tepidarium. The transept approaches 100 meters in length, 27 meters in width and 28 meters in height. Eight imposing red granite columns are original, they are 14 meters high and have a diameter of 1.5 meters. Others, in bricks, have been added.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

On the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere,  the current Basilica Church of Saint Mary of Trastevere was built in the 12C under Innocent II. Its foundations rest on the ruins of a 3C Christian building, one of the oldest domestic churches in Rome, known as the Titus Callisti. Legend has it that an oil spring would have sprung up here in 38 BC. J.-C., announcing the coming of the messiah for the Jews of the district. Another story indicates that Pope Callistus I installed a Christian community in a tavern, which took the name of Titulus Callisti. In 340, Pope Julius I built a larger building, then designated as Titulus Iulii, one of the first twenty-five parishes in Rome. It would have been the second church dedicated to the Virgin, after Sainte-Marie Majeure, during the 5C. In the 8C and 9C, it was enlarged with side naves, then Gregory IV remodeled the choir, added the chancel, the ciborium, and a crypt which housed the relics of Calixte I. The church was rebuilt from 1140 to 1143 by Pope Innocent II, adding a transept, the mosaics of the apse, and architectural elements which were recovered from the baths of the Caracalla and in the temple of Isis on the Gianicolo hill. The facade features a 13C mosaic of the nursing Virgin, surrounded by ten women carrying lamps. At the top of the charming 12C Romanesque bell tower, a niche houses a mosaic of the Virgin and Child. The portico was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18C during the restoration of the facade. On its parapet, stand the sculptures of the popes Calixte I, Corneille, Jules I, and the martyr Calépode.  The interior of the portico preserves Christian frescoes and fragments of sarcophagi from the 3C.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano ( Via dei Fori Imperiali, 1 ) is dedicated to the two Greek brothers, doctors and martyrs. It is located in the ancient Forum of Vespasian, on the site of the Temple of Peace. The temple with the library of Peace were given to Pope Felix IV by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great in 527. These two buildings were then transformed into a basilica. It was accessed from the Roman Forum, through an entrance hall with a circular plan (known as the Temple of Romulus). In 1632, Pope Urban VIII redesigned the building, in particular by raising the ground level by 7 meters and by fitting out seven chapels. The old floor of the old basilica is still visible on the lower level. In 1947, the old entrance by the Temple of Romulus was closed and replaced by a new entrance built on Via dei Fori Imperiali. Near the new entrance, on the walls of two rooms of the Peace Forum were the 150 marble slabs that make up the Forma Urbis Romae. (Antique map of Rome, engraved under Septimius Severus).


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano , Constantine built the first basilica in 320. It is the oldest church, the mother of all churches, which inspired and still inspires Christian buildings. San Giovanni in Laterano is the cathedral of Rome, the seat of the bishop of Rome, who is the Pope himself (San Pietro is the church of the Vatican). The church was then rebuilt several times over the course of history, due to earthquakes, looting and fires. From its original version, it has only kept its proportions and a large part of the Baptistery. Rebuilt by Nicholas IV at the end of the 13C, it was burned shortly afterwards in 1308. Rebuilt and decorated by Giotto, the fire hit it again in 1360. In the mid-17C, reconstruction with the addition embellishement of the interior with twelve niches that house the large statues of the apostles. The facade dates back to 1734, the apse and the mosaics were renovated in the late 19C. The interior is 130 meters long. Various relics relating to Christ are preserved there. A small portion of a fresco by Giotto remains, depicting Boniface VIII in the Jubilee of 1300. There is the beautiful cloister, and the Lateran Baptistery near the basilica, which preserves some beautiful early Christian remains. On the piazza del Laterano square stands the high Egyptian obelisk of the 15C BC, coming from Karnak, which at 36 meters, it is the tallest Egyptian obelisk.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Scala Santa or Holy Stairs are a set of 28 white marble steps that are Roma Catholic Relics located in an edifice on extraterritorial property of the Holy See in Rome near the Archbasilica of St John in Laterano (St Giovanni).   Officially, the edifice is titled the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (Pontificio Santuario della Scala Santa). The Holy Stairs, which long ago were encased in a protective framework of wooden steps, are in an edifice that incorporates part of the old, Papal Lateran Palace. The Holy Stairs lead to the Church of St Lawrence in  simply the  Sancta Sanctorum or Holy of Holies, which was the personal chapel of the early Popes. Thousands of pilgrims climb the 28 steps of La Scala Santa, each year, while praying and meditating on the passion of Christ. These steps would indeed have been trodden by Jesus while he was going to the Praetorium of Jerusalem to be judged there by Pontius Pilate. Only small portholes allow to see the red spots that tradition attributes to the blood of Christ. According to tradition , the Scala Santa, or Sacla Pilati is said to have been transported from Jerusalem to Rome at the beginning of the 4C by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. It is now installed near the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran, in a sanctuary desired by Pope Sixtus V.


The Rome tourist office on the Sanctuary

There you go folks,, and this is just my favorites and able to see; there are soo many. Anyway this is Rome, the cradle of the Catholic Church so should  be no surprises. The history ,architecture and just beauty are enough to bring you in regardless of your beliefs. They are an integral part of any visit to Rome! Hope you have enjoy the posts as I. And see my many other posts on Rome in my blog.

This Rome Art Lover site tells them all churches, too numerous for me to post:

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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