Rome is packed with religious sites, but if we had to choose the 10 most beautiful churches in Rome to visit at least once in life, which ones would we choose?
In this article, I wanted to list those which, in my humble opinion, are the most beautiful and fascinating churches in the capital. In this difficult choice, I tried to range from the first centuries of Christianity, all the way up to the Third Millennium.
1. Saint Peter’s
It represents the center of Christianity: it is an imposing basilica, which overlooks the square surrounded by the beautiful elliptical colonnade by Bernini.
2. Saint Louis of the French
The Church of San Luigi dei Francesi is the center of worship of the French community in Rome.
Within the church, it is possible to admire almost for free 3 works of Caravaggio (you should prepare a bag of coins, for turning on the lights and fully enjoying the Caravaggios)
3. Santa Prassede
A classic example of a Byzantine church in Rome: get ready to enjoy the wonderful Byzantine mosaics with a golden background.
This church is not particularly popular among tourists, so it has the advantage of being very quiet and peaceful.
4. Santa Maria sopra Minerva
A rare example of a Gothic church, immersed within a totally baroque city.
In the church rest the remains of Saint Catherine from Siena, and the Beato Angelico (Angelic Beatified). Worthy of note are the side chapels, the housings to many works by great artists.
5. Santa Maria in Ara Coeli
Located near the Capitol, this church has hosted the noble Roman families in its private chapels.
Now here’s a curiosity: the gravestones are placed on the ground and are half-blanked by the incessant passing of visitors.
The floor vaguely recalls to the Westminster Abbey, in London.
6. Santa Sabina
Perhaps it represents the highest example of Romanesque church in the Capital.
Located near the Garden of Oranges, this church is perfectly isolated and silent.
Worthy of note is certainly the entrance portal, dated 5th century.
7. Santa Maria della Pace
The church is placed in one of the most crowded tourists areas. It has a very original curved façade, when compared to traditional churches.
One element of relief is certainly the Cloister of Bramante, where rather interesting exhibitions are held.
In Roman times, it was the temple of Roman pagan deities, later converted in the 7th century to a Christian basilica. It has the peculiarity of being inscribed in a perfect sphere, indeed, its diameter and height match perfectly (43.44 m).
Another curiosity is the famous forum on the top, from which, according to a legend, all pagan deities came out; others argue that on rainy days, not a single drop gets through this hole.
Speaking of the second legend, I verified in person: it seemed to me that the drops were coming in after all…
9. San Clemente
A church built on a further 3 layers, all open to visitors. Going down the first stairs, you’ll come across the layer composed of an early Christian basilica, while if continuing to descend into history we’ll find some Roman houses and a mithraeum, famous for the first sentence in Latin vernacular:
“Fili de le pute, traite”.
After visiting Saint Clement, it is also obligatory to see the wonderful cloister in the nearby church of the SS. Quattro Coronati.
It is usually closed, so you’ll have to ask with a lot of courtesy to have it opened to you by the nuns inside.
10. Dives in Misericordia
The church was designed by famous architect Richard Meier, and features several white sails.
The curiosity of this modern church is in the cement used for its construction: in fact, it is “self-cleaning” through sunlight.
10+ Santa Costanza Mausoleum
It is one of the few perfectly preserved examples of a circular base Christian building.
The structure is derived from Roman temples, nymphaeums and mausoleums.
The mausoleum was built in the early fourth century by Constantine (or Constance), the daughter of Constantine.
Congratulations for reading my article entirely!
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