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Bill Thayer

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The Churches of Rome


[image ALT: A large sort of gazebo of marble columns inside a church, with a fresco in the background. It is the ciborium over the main altar of the church of S. Giorgio in Velabro (Rome).]

The ciborium of S. Giorgio in Velabro with Cavallini's frescoes behind it are among the very many beautiful sights in Rome's churches, from pre-Christian vestiges to works of the 21st century.

It is next to impossible to present such a wealth of antiquities and works of art on a single website, but believe it or not, I'm going to try.


The Basics

The first step seems obvious, and is thus underway: three essential books on the subject — one of them still incomplete — and all of them needing proofreading, additions, illustrations. The books are all in Italian:

Le Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo: the very scholarly, excellent book by Christian Hülsen (1927) in which all the sources on the topic are summarized, studied and assessed; both the medieval and Renaissance catalogs and the works of later writers thru the time in which he wrote. With an extremely large and detailed map of the medieval City.

[11/13/01: 750 printed pages
organized in about 30 webpages
— 435 pages already up, or 58% ]

Le chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX: this is the famous, classic text by Rome-born Mariano Armellini, (2d edition, 1891); less systematic and much less careful, but includes the churches founded after the Middle Ages — plus a wealth of anecdotes and a characteristic human quality not found in Hülsen.

[9/29/01: 938 printed pages
set up as 24 webpages
— 100% online, although unproofed ]

Pitture, Sculture e Architetture esposte al pubblico in Roma: Filippo Titi's guide, in the 1763 edition as revised by Giovanni Bottari. The book in fact covers mostly churches, and within them, the paintings: it can be thought of as a primary source on baroque art. It includes an index of over nine hundred artists, and another appendix on the contents of the Capitoline Museum.

[8/11/01: 590 small printed pages
set up as 10 webpages + indexes
— 100% online, although unproofed ]

To these large-scale works, from time to time I'll be adding some more detailed items:

"Roman Church Mosaics of the First Nine Centuries" by William Warner Bishop, a journal article published in 1906 (AJA 10:251‑281): in which the author describes and illustrates the oldest mosaics in Rome, in 22 churches, and outlines the beginning of a typology.

[ 9 photos ]


The Individual Churches
(Each photo is a link)


[image ALT: A throne of golden mosaic against a wall of the same. It is the throne or cathedra of the Pope as bishop of Rome, in the apse of S. John Lateran.]
St. John Lateran
Cathedral of the Pope, the Patriarch of the West

1 rather tangential page, 4 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
St. Peter's

Patriarch of Constantinople

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Paolo fuori le Mura

Patriarch of Alexandria

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria Maggiore

Patriarch of Antioch

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura
Patriarch of Jerusalem

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria ad Martyres
(the Pantheon)

3 pages, 6 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
Domine Quo Vadis?

[image ALT: zzz]
il Gesù

[image ALT: zzz]
Gesù e Maria

[image ALT: zzz]
Madonna
dell' Archetto

[image ALT: zzz]
Nostra Signora
del Sacro Cuore

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Agata
dei Goti

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Agata
in Trastevere

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Agnese
fuori le Mura

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Agostino

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Alessio

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Ambrogio e Carlo
al Corso

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Anastasia

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Andrea, Barbara, and Silvia
on the Caelian

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Andrea
della Valle

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Andrea e Claudio
dei Borgognoni

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Anna
dei Palafrenieri

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Anselmo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Antonio
da Padova

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Antonio
dei Portoghesi

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Balbina

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Barbara
dei Librai

2 pages, 4 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Bartolomeo
all' Isola

2 pages, 3 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Bernardo
alle Terme

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Biagio
degli Armeni

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Bibiana

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Carlo
ai Catinari

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Carlo
alle Quattro Fontane

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Caterina
a Magnanapoli

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Caterina
della Rota

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Celso e Giuliano

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Costanza

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Eustachio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Francesca Romana

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giacomo
in Augusta

[image ALT: A church with an arched portico and a tall belfry. It is the church of S. Giorgio in Velabro in Rome.]
S. Giorgio
in Velabro

9 pages, 10 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Gioacchino e Anna
ai Monti

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giovanni
Calibita

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giovanni
dei Fiorentini

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giovanni
della Malva

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giovanni
in Oleo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Giovanni
a Porta Latina

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Giovanni e Paolo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Girolamo della Carità

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Gregorio Magno
al Celio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Ignazio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Ivo
alla Sapienza

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Lorenzo
in Lucina

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Lorenzo
in Miranda

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Lorenzo
in Panisperna

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Luigi
dei Francesi

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Marco

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Margherita

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
degli Angeli

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
dell' Anima

1 page, 2 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Aquiro

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Aracoeli

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Consolazione

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Cosmedin

3 pages, 11 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
del Divino Amore

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Domnica

1 page, 1 photo, 8 links

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria Egiziaca

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria Maddalena

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
sopra Minerva

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
dei Miracoli

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Misericordia
a Campo Verano

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Monserrato

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Montesanto

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Monticelli

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
dell' Orazione e Morte

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Pace

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
del Priorato

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Quercia

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Scala

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
Traspontina

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Trastevere

4 pages, 4 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
in Trivio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Maria
della Vittoria

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Martino
ai Monti

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Nereo e Achilleo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Nicola
a Carcere

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Omobono

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Pantaleo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Paolo
entro le Mura

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Paolo
alla Regola

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Pietro
in Carcere

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Pietro
in Montorio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Prassede

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Prisca

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Pudenziana

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Rocco

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Saba

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Sabina

13 pages, 14 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Salvatore
in Lauro

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Salvatore
in Onda

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Sebastiano

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Silvestro
in Capite

2 pages, 4 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Sisto Vecchio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Stefano
Rotondo

1 page, 2 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Susanna

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Tommaso
in Formis

4 pages, 7 photos

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Tommaso
in Parione

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Trinità
dei Pellegrini

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Vincenzo e Anastasio

[image ALT: zzz]
S. Vitale

[image ALT: zzz]
SS. Vito e Modesto

After spending a good deal of time every couple of years or so searching the Web for the churches of Rome, I've come away very disappointed. Only about 12 of them are covered at all adequately, and (now that an excellent site on S. Passera by Christian Lemme has totally vanished from the ever-shrinking web), only one church is covered really well:

S. Maria sopra Minerva [Official Site]

So. . . one by one, I'll be entering some basic summaries:

S. Maria in Domnica S. Maria in Trastevere S. Stefano Rotondo

Also, in addition to the pages linked to in their proper places above, there is already a fair amount about some Roman churches in various out‑of-the‑way places on my site; so that in a first phase, even this quick index (only of relatively substantial information) may be useful:

Chapel of the Forty Martyrs (Oratorio dei Quaranta Martiri) S. Antonio all' Esquilino (S. Andrea) S. Cecilia in Trastevere: 1 2 S. Clemente SS. Cosma e Damiano S. Croce a Monte Mario S. Croce in Gerusalemme SS. Giovanni e Paolo S. Gregorio al Celio S. John Lateran (S. Giovanni in Laterano): 1 2 S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura S. Maria in Aracoeli S. Maria della Febbre S. Maria Maggiore SS. Nereo ed Achilleo S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane S. Paolo fuori le Mura S. Peter's: (S. Pietro in Vaticano) founding, architecture, & demolition of the old church in the 16c the papal tombs S. Petronilla S. Prassede S. Pudenziana S. Stefano del Trullo S. Urbano alla Caffarella


Finally, it's occasionally useful to check my diary. Use the search engine below. For best results, because of variants in how the texts present the churches, you should omit Saint, etc. and the connecting words. I.e., for San Lorenzo in Panisperna:


You might also put the name of the church in quotes, abbreviating Saint, San, Santa, Santo to S. and Santi, Saints, Santissimo, Santissima, etc. to SS.:


For many churches, the index of monuments in Rome will also take you to the main page for each.


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Site updated: 17 Aug 14