The churches of Rome, part III

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 Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo is located on the hill of Celio, ( Piazza Dei SS. Giovanni e Paolo ) ,The construction of the basilica began in 398, on the order of the Byzantine senator Pammachius. At this place an ancient building was used by a Christian community and tradition says that it was the residence of the two holy brothers, John and Paul, who were martyred in 362 under the reign of Julian the Apostate. The place became their burial place. The original church was damaged by the Visigoths of Alaric during the sack of Rome in 410, then by an earthquake in 442, and in 1084 the Normans sacked it. Pope Paschal II undertook major works, with the addition of the campanile, the portico and an adjoining monastery. The church was thus called the Titulus Pammachii and is recorded as such in the acts of the synod held by Pope Symmachus in 499. It is home to the Passionists and is the burial place of St Paul of the Cross. Additionally, it is the station Church of the first Friday in Lent. At the base of the bell tower, we notice the remains of the Temple of Claude. On part of the latter, a convent adjoining the church was built. We can also see the foundations of the nearby temple, in the ancient rue du Clivus Scauri.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Church of Saint Louis of the French (Piazza di S. Luigi de’ Francesi, ) has been the French national church in Rome since 1589. It is located between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, its style is essentially Baroque. It is famous for preserving three canvases by Caravaggio dedicated to Saint Matthew and for the frescoes of Dominicino. after a project by Giacomo della Porta, to be completed in 1589. It was financed among others by the Valois kings of France, Catherine de Medici, or the Duke of Lorraine. It was built to be a parish for the French residents of the city. From an artistic point of view, the church is an exaltation of France through the representation of its saints and its greatest historical figures. On the facade, there are statues made by Pierre de l’Estache: Charlemagne, St Louis, Sainte-Clotilde, and Sainte Jeanne de Valois. In addition, the salamander of François I is present at the ends.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Church Santa Maria in Traspontina (Via della Concilazione,14c) ,this is the wide avenue leading to St. Peter’s Basilica. trajectory of cannonballs launched from Castel Sant’Angelo. This is also why the current dome of the church is very crushed. On its site there was an ancient Roman pyramidal tomb. Its construction began in 1566 ,and was completed in 1637. It has long been the seat of the Carmelite parish of Santa Maria del Carmelo in Traspontina, already existing in the High Middle Ages. The church was established as a cardinalatial titulus by Pope Sixtus V in 1587. The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Carmel. the Chapel of St Knud (king Canute IV) is the National Shrine of Denmark. The large facade has two levels, divided into bays by projecting colonnades. Above the central portal, a niche houses an 18C stucco group of the Madonna and Child.

roma-church-st-maria-del-carmelo-concializione-tranportina aug13

The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Basilica of Saint Mary of the People (Piazza del Popolo, 12 ) is one of the most important buildings of the Roman Renaissance, not only for its architectural features, but also for the paintings and sculptures that make it a valuable museum of Renaissance art.  It is located in People’s Square, near the Porta del Popolo. A first small church was built by Pope Pascal II, on the tombs of Domizi to hunt, according to legend, the spirit of Nero who was buried there. More likely, it would have been built to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem, at the end of the first crusade. The current church was founded in the 15C under Sixtus IV, giving it its beautiful Renaissance appearance. It was modified in the 17C by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Le Bernini) under Alexander VII, to give it a more lively, typically Baroque appearance. Its simple, Latin cross layout with three naves corresponds to the model of Cistercian churches. Its pretty 15C bell tower is of a style originating in northern Italy. Many famous artists worked there, such as Bramante, Sansovino, Pinturicchio, Mino da Fiesole, Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (Via del Corso, 529 ) is located on Piazza del Popolo , located north of the ancient Champ de Mars. Its “twin”, Santa Maria in Montesanto, is opposite, just on the other side of Via del Corso. In the twin churches are found the remains of two pyramidal tombs, similar to that of Caius Cestius. They would date from the time of Augustus and probably formed a monumental entrance to the Champ de Mars. The two churches are on their sites. According to one tradition, a miraculous rescue of a baby who fell into the Tiber on June 20, 1325, after his mother summoned a painted image of the Virgin, led to the construction of a chapel dedicated to Mary, near the Tiber, towards the current Margherita bridge, and where the image was installed. The facade is characterized by the presence of a rectangular portico crowned with a pediment, on which we can read the name of the benefactor of the church, Cardinal Gastaldi. The columns of the pronaos were originally intended for the bell towers of Saint-Pierre designed by Bernini, but which were never made. The octagonal cupola, covered with slate tiles, was built by Carlo Fontana.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Basilica Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 18 ) is a rare and fine example of medieval architecture in Rome. It was built in the 7C on the remains of ancient buildings on the edge of the Forum Boarium, the ancient food market near the Tiber. Specifically, there are remains of the tuff walls of the unconquered altar of Hercules, and columns of the portico added in the 4C are incorporated into the current walls. The church was enlarged by Pope Hadrian I in the 8C, and entrusted to Byzantine monks who settled in the neighborhood after fleeing iconoclastic persecution in the East. The name “Cosmedin” (ornament in Greek) comes from the many decorations they made there. It has been modified several times over time, with a substantial reconstruction in the 12C, including the addition of the campanile. In the 17C and 18C, important Baroque restorations were carried out, such as a Rococo facade. But at the end of the 19C, work was done to restore the medieval aspect of the building. Its harmonious seven-stories Romanesque bell tower with its triple openings is one of the most beautiful in this style in Rome, erected in the 12C. It rises 34 meters and retains a Pisan bell from 1283. The portico with its semicircular arches which precedes the facade is a realization of the Cosmati of the 12C. It houses the famous Bocca della Verità, (“Mouth of Truth” ), an ancient manhole that was installed here in the 12tC. Folk tradition has it that it would bite the hand of anyone who utters a lie.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Piazza di S. Maria Maggiore) was erected after the Council of Ephesus in 431 under Pope Sixtus III, this was the first Roman church dedicated to the cult of the divine motherhood of Mary, sanctioned during this ecumenical council. The history of the building also includes many legends, the best known of which is that of the “miracle of the snow”: on the night of August 4 to 5, 356, the Virgin appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius indicating the place where to build a church. At this place, that night it would have miraculously snowed. The most important of the Roman churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary thus stands at the top of Mount Cispio (the highest of the three mountains that make up the Esquiline hill), erected on the remains of a building dating from Augustus. The original church, with three naves and a narthex, without transept, was therefore founded between 432 and 440 by Sixtus III. In the second half of the 14C, the bell tower was built. The basilica is a mixture of architecture from several periods: the nave and its ancient Ionic columns, the early Christian sanctuary from the 5C, the Romanesque campanile from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance ceilings, the Baroque domes, etc. Having retained its medieval character for a long time, the basilica was considerably transformed from the end of the 16C by Popes Sixtus V and Paul V. The two large side chapels (Sistine and Pauline) were built, as well as the building to the right of the facade. .Between 1670 and 1676, Carlo Rainaldi redesigned the apse. The last major construction is the facade in the first half of the 18C, and the building located on its left. This facade is superimposed on the older ones. In the loggia of the blessing, accessible by a ladder under the porch, the mosaics of the decoration are preserved. These were made at the end of the 13C. The upper part represents Christ blessing, between the symbols of  the evangelists, the Virgin, angels and saints. In the lower register are depicted episodes from the life of Pope Liberius.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Church Santa Maria di Loreto (Piazza della Madonna di Loreto, 26) is an early 16C church, built by the bakers’ guild of Rome, on the corner of Trajan’s Forum. After the Jubilee of 1500, the association of bakers (Sodalizio dei Fornai) received permission from Pope Alexander VI  to built a church at this site. The church was inaugurated by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in 1507. It was completed by Iacopo del Duca in 1576. The sacristy was rebuilt in the 19C. The base of the church is built of brick covered with travertine. On the tympanum of the portal there is a marble sculpted by Andrea Sansovino (1550) which represents the Madonna with Child and the house of Loreto. The octagonal dome is surmounted by a lantern.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The current Basilica of Saint Agnes outside the Walls (Via Nomentana, 349 ) was built by Pope Honorius I in the first half of the 7C, above the venerated tomb of the saint. There was previously a church built in 324 at the request of Constantius, Constantine’s daughter, above a cemetery and the catacombs. It is one of the best examples of early Christian basilicas, and one of the best preserved. The old church was half-buried, and its now high door was walled up. The ground was at the level of the tomb of Saint Agnes. The bell tower was erected under Julius II in the 15C and the current appearance of the church dates from several restorations, in the 17C and 19C, including the construction of chapels. On January 21 of each year, two lambs are blessed in the church and a pallium is sewn with their wool, then entrusted by the pope to the new archbishops. The exterior of the building has two levels. The upper brick part was the only one visible until the 17C, the lower part being underground. The old door giving access to the grandstand has been walled up. The lower part is covered in plaster, with a magnificent Renaissance oak door. A narthex precedes the entrance, where a marble slab bears the original inscription of Pope Damasus dedicated to the martyrdom of Saint Agnes, from the 4C.

roma church st agnese via agnese via nomentana belltower aug13

The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

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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