Rome: San Pancrazio

It is highly unlikely one will find hordes of tourists at the church of San Pancrazio. This is easily explained, as the church is very far from the historical centre of Rome and does not possess any great artistic treasures. What the church did have in terms of art was…

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Rome: Santa Maria in Campitelli

The seventeenth-century church of Santa Maria in Campitelli was specifically built to house an icon, the Madonna del Portico. This icon is famous for two reasons. Not only is it credited with having stopped a plague in the 1650s, it is also quite special because of the way it was…

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Rome: San Giovanni dei Fiorentini

Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence. Therefore is was self-evident that, when the Florentine community in Rome decided to build a large new church at the beginning of the sixteenth century, this church was going to be dedicated to Saint John. The San Giovanni dei Fiorentini…

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Rome: San Bernardo alle Terme

The church of San Bernardo alle Terme is dedicated to the famous French saint and abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). The ‘alle Terme’ part of the name refers to the Baths of Diocletianus – Thermae in Latin – which were built in the fourth century. The large train station of…

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Rome: Sant’Anastasia

People standing in front of the church of Sant’Anastasia will probably not realise that this is one of the oldest churches in the city. The history of the church possibly goes back to the first quarter of the fourth century, when Christianity had just become an allowed religion (religio licita)…

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Rome: Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi

The richly decorated church of Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi is dedicated to Saint Antonius of Padova (1195-1231). As I have written previously, the saint’s real name was not Antonius and he was not from Padova either. He had in fact been born as Fernando Martins in the Portuguese city of Lisbon.…

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Rome: Santa Maria in Traspontina

The famous Saint Peter’s Basilica is connected to the equally famous Castel Sant’Angelo and the river Tiber by the Via della Conciliazione. This broad street was built between 1936 and 1950 as a result of the Lateran treaty of 1929. In 1870 Italian troops had captured Rome from the Pope.…

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Rome: Santa Maria in Aquiro

I had been warned that a visit to the church of Santa Maria in Aquiro could be tricky. According to my source, visitors who wanted to view works of art in the building were not really welcome, while people who wanted to take photos could really get into trouble. Fortunately…

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Rome: San Paolo dentro le Mura

One would almost forget, but Rome of course also has a couple of Protestant churches. The San Paolo dentro le Mura – or Saint Paul’s within the Walls in English – is a particularly spectacular example. The church is alternatively known as the American church. It occupies a prominent spot…

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Rome: Sant’Eusebio

People standing in front of the church of Sant’Eusebio on the Esquiline Hill will probably find it hard to believe that this is really a very old church, with roots in Late Antiquity. The church façade, which has recently been restored, mentions the year 1711 in Roman numerals. The medieval…

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