Thursday, January 24, 2013

Piazza della Repubblica & Santa Maria degli Angeli

Lord, make me see thy glory in every place.
~Michelangelo Buonarroti

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
Igor Mitoraj

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!



Very interesting post !!!
I have enjoyed your amazing pictures of the wonderful church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri !!!
Thank you and have a good day !!!

Tiziano said...

Beautiful photos on Carilla beautiful works from the eternal city views with the eye of an artist.

UIFPW08 said...

best reportage

Marty said...

beautiful and interesting images !
hope you are well ! wish you a wonderful weekend and a great new year !
thank you so much for your visit !

Unknown said...

Fabulous post! Those doors with the figurines are just awesome. Lovely shots! Happy 2013! :-)

Loree said...

It is such a delight to explore Rome with you. I remember this church, very vaguely, from a trip with my parents back when I was a child. I've been to Rome a number of times after that but never went back to this church.

isabella kramer - veredit said...

What a spectacular place, what a beautiful harmony between old and new. Great and very interesting post. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!

cordially greetings

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Cobalt Violet said...

Thank you for the lovely and supportive comments, my friends!!!

donna baker said...

I did not see those doors and that church, but it is written that you could not see all Rome in 100 years.

Don said...

"But musical as is Apollo's lute, And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets Where no crude surfeit reigns”
John Milton

In other words... beautiful.

R's Rue said...

Thanks for this post!

Victoria said...

Pure wowness..such awe-inspiring beauty....your photos and images are sooo exquisite Lucinda!This was pure everything..your photos and your beautiful journey sparked my heart and soul!
HUgs and blessings..

Test said...

such a magical city... great images!

shayndel said...

Yes, I love the bancomat and the angel of light all in one post, it has a real feeling of life and wonder to travel through your post!!

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