Beautiful Churches in Rome - The Traveller

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Beautiful Churches in Rome

Churches in Rome

When it comes to a strong connection with the Catholic faith, no city can beat Rome. There are more than nine hundred churches in this city. So, it isn't possible to discuss all of them. But there are a few important churches about which you should definitely know. An excellent instance of art and architecture is Churches in Rome. Once you enter these churches, you get to view paintings, mosaics, frescoes, sculptures, etc. As almost all of these churches can be visited free of cost, it will be an advantage for those who are planning a budget trip.

The Most Popular and Magnificent Churches In Rome:

St. Peter’s Basilica:

Tourists in this city mainly visit this church as it is a part of the Vatican State. St. Peter’s Basilica is the most renowned church in Christendom. If you love Renaissance and Baroque art, this church is where you should definitely visit. Here, you can see masterpieces by different artists, such as Michelangelolia; Bernini, author of the canopy; Vignola, designer of the renowned cupola.

In 326, Emperor Constantine ordered to build the original church. But in 1452, Pope Nicholas V ordered to construct a new church on top of the original one and in the 18th century, it was completed. The mind-blowing works of St. Peter include-

  • the dome, the work of Michelangelo, and his Pietà statue
  • a statue of Jesus and his mother, Mary.

Everything is made with so much elegance and beauty that you won't believe these consist of marble. Now, bullet-proof glass is used for protection. This church is also popular for Bernini's Baldachin. It is actually a bronze canopy ( 95 feet high) that you can get to see behind the altar.

St. Paul’s Outside the Walls (Piazzale San Paolo, 1):

Constantine founded this church over the burial place of Saint Paul. In the 19th century, it was reconstructed because of a catastrophic fire in the year 1823. It has retained the primitive character of a Roman basilica for many years with unadorned columns and a grand central nave. You need to know one thing here is that the mosaics survived the fire in 1823 and it dated from around the 400s.

Santa Maria In Trastevere:

The location of Santa Maria in Trastevere. It is located on the other side of the Tiber river compared to the city's historic center. People believe that it is the first location where Christian people of the city were able to profess their religion:

While in 221 this church's construction began, it was completed in 340.

The restoration of this church was seen in the fifth and eighth centuries. However, the important restoration was done between 1140 and 1143 when the church was rebuilt because of the wishes of Pope Innocent II who removed the tomb of his former rival, Antipope Anacletus II. He ordered the rebuilding of the church in order to replace the tomb with his own burial place. At that time, the bell tower in Romanesque style was added.

The 13th century mosaics by Pietro Cavallini are the most important pieces that you could see inside the Santa Maria. The Baths of Caracalla was the source of the 22 granite columns that kept the main nave separated from the isle.

St. Mary Major (Piazza Del Esquilino, 34):

Santa Maria Maggiore is considered to be one of the five papal basilicas of this city. It is the largest church that is dedicated to Mary. The St. Mary Major houses a vital relic that exists under its high altar: the crib, where the child Jesus rested in Bethlehem.

Santa Maria Della Vittoria:

Santa Maria Della Vittoria is situated in Rione Sallustiano by the Fontana dell’Acqua Felice and mirrors the Church of Santa Susanna. Tourists can spot popular statues here. For example, you will get to see the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa ( by Berini) in the Cornaro Chapel. Santa Maria Della Vittoria was constructed between 1608 and 1620 and is dedicated to Saint Paul for the Discalced Carmelites. Later, it was dedicated again to the Virgin Mary.

Church Of God The Merciful Father (Chiesa Parrocchiale Di Dio Padre Misericordioso):

All Roman churches did not date back centuries. This church is called the “Church of the Jubilee”. It was built in order to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of Jesus's birth. Richard Meier who is an American architect designed this. In 2003, the construction was completed in Postmodernist style. The church consists of smooth white concrete, glass, and titanium.

San Luigi Dei Francesi:

The location of the Church of St. Louis of the French is near Piazza Navona. Therefore, it becomes easier to pop while wandering around the city's historic center. This church is dedicated to St. Denis the Areopagite, the Virgin Mary and St. Louis IX ( who was the king of France).

Domenico Fontana built the church between 1518 and 1589 and Giacomo della Porta was the designer of this church. Catherine de' Medici donated some of her properties in that area as her contribution to this church. The Façade are the most notable pieces where you can get to see many statues, which can give a clear reference to French history.

While walking inside the church, you will be mesmerized by Contarelli Chapel, where you can see a cycle of paintings about the life of St. Matthews by Caravaggio. These include —

  • The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (can be seen above the altar),
  • The Calling of St Matthew (can be seen on the left wall), and
  • The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (can be seen on the right wall).

Other Remarkable Churches In Rome:

  • The Pantheon:

You might not expect this building on the list of churches, but remember that it is an official church. Both architecture and the interior beauty make the Pantheon famous. The largest concrete structure which is unreinforced is the dome of the church. The most interesting thing is that it has been here for around 2,000 years. Hadrian built the church in a pagan structure as a temple to all gods. The name itself signifies the meaning where the term "pan" indicates all and "theos'' denotes gods. The Catholic Church consecrated it in 608 AD. The Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs is the official name of it.

  • Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano:

It is made up of several churches’ layers which were built on top of each other. When you come here, you need to visit the excavations to learn about its history. Emperor Constantine commissioned the original church in the fourth century.

This church was an important place of worship for centuries. However, only a little of the original church remained because of earthquakes, fires, and general vandalism. Now, what tourists can see is the renovations in the Baroque style, which were done in the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • San Pietro In Vincoli:

Vincoli means chains, which bound Peter as well as are venerated under the high altar. San Pietro In Vincoli resides on Esquiline Hill in this city. Popular sculptures by Michelangelo are the major attraction in this fifth-century church. Tourists can see the 1513 statue of Moses, which is adjacent to the tomb of Emperor Julius II.

  • Chiesa Di Sant’Ignazio Di Loyale:

This church is dedicated to the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius van Loyala. The ceiling fresco by Andrea Pozzo is the church's main attraction. In the painting, the ceiling, which is a false dome, seems it's opened up to Saint Ignatius.

  • Santa Maria In Cosmedin:

The 'mouth of truth', or the 'Bocca della Verità', draws the most attention of tourists to this church. Actually, it was used as a drain cover for the Cloaca Maxima. Now, it shows a river god. According to the myth, the mouth is going to bite off the hand of the liar who will stick his hand in.

  • Santa Maria Della Minerva:

This thirteenth century church is located near the Pantheon. This church was constructed on a temple's foundation for Isis. This is the only gothic church in the city. When you visit this church, at the left of the main altar, you get to see a famous work named ‘Cristo della Minerva’ by Michelangelo.

The Bottom Line:

In this article, we have mentioned some of the magnificent churches in Rome. So, if you are planning to make your holiday trip to Rome, then don't miss exploring these churches.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the four famous basilicas in Rome?

The names of the four ancient and major Basilicas of Rome are

  • the Basilica of St Peter,
  • the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls,
  • the Basilica of St Mary Major and
  • the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran.
  1. What is the most powerful church in Rome?

St. Peter's Basilica is the most powerful church in Rome.

  1. How many churches exist in Rome?

More than nine hundred churches are in Rome.

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