Monday, 16 June 2008

Santa Maria in Trastevere

Today I visited Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches in Rome dating back to 340s AD. The church was founded at a time when Christians were a minority sect. It is located in the heart of Piazza Santa Maria. The façade of the church was restored by Carlo Fontana who also restored the octagonal fountain in the center of the Piazza. The church can be spotted by its beautiful bell tower and its religious mosaics. The mosaics found above the portico are Mary feeding Jesus and women holding lamps used to symbolize virginity. Virginity is a common theme throughout the art work in Santa Maria in Trastevere because the basilica was devoted to the Virgin Mary.

The interior was much more extravagant than I had expected. Enormous marble columns line the nave of the church, which according to the Eyewitness Travel Rome were taken from the ruins of ancient Roman buildings. At the end of the nave was one of the most beautiful altars I have ever seen, covered in extravagant gold and mosaics. Beyond the altar is an archway that opens up to a half dome decorated in a beautiful 12th century mosaic of the Coronation of the Virgin. I found on Wikipedia that it was a popular form of Christian art that was often used during the 13th century. The mosaic portrays Christ placing the crown on Mary’s head accompanied by saints. Needless to say, Santa Maria in Trastevere is definitely worth a visit!

1 comment:

claire said...

Trastevere is great area to be in both by day and by night. I would recommend trying to find an accommodation here for those who want to visit Rome. In vacation rentals in rome you could easily find a b&b or an apartment in Trastevere or in any other area of the city...