Monuments of Rome - Santa Maria in Trastevere
The oldest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin. Legend has it that it was erected over an oil spring where the birth of the Saviour was foretold in 38 BC. Among the first places where Christians freely held services, it was started under Pope Callistus between 221 and 227 and finished by Julius I . Under the Trastevere pope Innocent II it was completely renovated and redecorated in the Baroque period. Today it is one of the most beautiful churches in Rome.
The façade is decorated with a splendid medieval mosaic depicting the enthroned Virgin and Child flanked by a procession of 10 Virgins.
The bell tower is from the 12th century, one of the tallest and most typical in Rome. The interior is 12th century, bare columns with capitals from an Egyptian temple, the floor is partly Cosmatesque. The ceiling is by Domenichino .
The true jewel of the church are the mosaics decorating the 12th century apse with the triumph of Mary. Below are frescoes and mosaics by Pietro Cavallini from the 13th century depicting episodes from the life of Mary.
Noteworthy are the tiny tabernacle chapel, a Rococo work by Raguzzini, and the Avila Chapel, considered the greatest Baroque work in Rome after the period of Bernini and Borromini .
In the sacristy, two lovely mosaics from the 1st century AD are preserved.