Lord, make me see thy glory in every place.
After checking out the Vermeer exhibition, I realized that I had another hour or two before I could go back into the earlier churches (to find my lost hat), so I headed south to find a bancomat (Italian ATM machine) and thought, while I was at it, I'd check out Piazza Repubblica.
I'd driven through the piazza four years prior, a cab driver pointing out the window and shouting "PIAZZA REPUBBLICA!!!" but I'd never explored it. Plus, I figured I'd might find a money machine around there, since it's by the main train station, Termini.
Fountain of the Naiads
The statues on the fountain, which was inaugurated in 1901, were once thought so scandalous, that the city built a fence around it ... to which the Romans responded by knocking it down.
Gotta love the Romans. ;)
The Piazza (previously called Piazza dell'Esedra) is laid out in a semi-circle in the exedra of the Baths of Diocletian, at the summit of the Viminal Hill.
Looking across the Piazza to the Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri and the Baths of Diocletian.
Seeing this, I had no idea what the deal was. Part Roman ruin ... part church ... So, I decided to head over and check it out.
(Oh, and as we continue, you can listen to this gentleman I found on YouTube, playing Italian Renaissance Lute music. And, who doesn't love a lute? ;)
Nice doors, right? The bronze doors of Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj, are beautifully set off by the amazing brickwork, and were completed in 2005.
This door, on the right, depicts the Annunciation.
At the bottom of the door (not in the photo) it reads ...
Ecce Ancilla Domini Fiat Mihi Secundum Verbum Tuum -
I am the handmaid of the lord, let what you have said be done to me.
The door on the left depicts the Resurrection, and Christ, his body etched with a cross.
To read more information about the doors, click here.
A bit of history, from the (great) website Sacred Destinations ...
"In 1541, a Sicilian priest, Fr. Antonio Lo Duca, had a vision of angels in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. As a result, Pope Pius IV (1559-1565) ordered that a church be built within the Baths. The church was designed by Michelangelo, who began work in 1563 but died a year later in 1564. His design was completed by Jacopo Lo Duca, nephew of Fr. Antonio and pupil of Michelangelo. The church was granted to the Carthusians, who built a monastery next to it, possibly to a design by Michelangelo."
Angel of Light
Ernesto Lamagna 2000
I am not quite sure why it was so dang dark in there. It was rainy and all, but it was really dark. I tried to be very still while taking pictures but most of them were very blurry. I lightened these up, as much as I could, in iPhoto.
I love this modern stained glass window, in the dome of the Circular Vestibule, when you first enter the church.
Light and Time
Narcissus Quagliata 1999
I came upon a sculpture of John the Baptist, and found the light so incredibly beautiful, as it spilled over the stone ... It made it feel like a truly sacred space.
Saint John the Baptist
The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as Queen of the Angels, as well as the Christian slaves who died building the Baths of Diocletian, which were completed in 306 and obviously dedicated to the Emperor Diocletian. Unfortunately, Michelangelo died before the church was completed.
If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn't call it genius.
Below, the right transept, with Roman Columns
This sculpture, below, is called The Meditation, and is in the Chapel of Saint Bruno. She was pretty enormous, which you see by the angle, and how I am looking up at her. She, along with the sculpture The Prayer, (lower left in the photo) date back to the 1870s and were finished by Frances Fabj-Altini.
I am not sure why, by I really was taken by her.
Saint Theresa's Chapel
Here you can really see that the church was built in the Roman baths. I love how rustic they left this wall.
Through the Chapel of Saint Theresa, there is a door out into a peaceful courtyard, lovingly cared for, with greenery and sculptures, all in the midst of more ancient Roman remains of the Diocletian baths.
Galileo Galilei Divine Man
Designed by Professor Tsung Dao Lee
For more about Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri please visit their website here.
To learn more about this church and many other sacred places, from around the world, check out the website Sacred Destinations.
What an interesting mix of the very old and very new, all in one place! And, this place wasn't even on my "to do" list. I am glad I was open to exploring and letting myself end up in unexpected places. A good lesson for life, I think! Hope you enjoyed exploring with me!
A beautiful thing never gives so much pain
as does failing to hear and see it.
blessings and light!