Saturday, September 12, 2015

Santa Maria del Popolo

One of my favourite churches to visit is Santa Maria del Popolo in Piazza del Popolo.
The church was first built in 1099 by Pope Pascal II after his vision of the Madonna who asked him to build a church to rid the area of the evil spirits, caused by the ghost of Emperor Nero, the persecutor of Christians.
The church was rebuilt in the 15th century and decorated with artworks by Caravaggio, Raphael, Carlo Maratta and Bernini.
In the Cerasi Chapel you can find two paintings by Caravaggio on the chapel's left and right walls, the Crucifixion of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saul, painted on canvas and dating from 1602. The altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin is by Annibale Carracci and dates from the same time. Carracci also painted the chapel's vault frescoes. (The chapel is quite dark but can be lit with a coin donation to better see the paintings)
Raphael designed and decorated the Chigi Chapel for Agostino Chigi in 1513, it was completed by Bernini in 1652 for the Chigi Pope Alexander VII. The chapel holds two of Bernini's statues, Habakkuk and the Angel and Daniel and the Lion. The altarpiece of the Nativity of the Virgin is by Sebastiano del Piombo.
The church apse was designed by Bramante and the vault frescoes, and the frescoes in the Della Rovere Chapel are by Pinturicchio.

The church opens from 7am until 12pm and reopens at 4pm closing at 7pm.
It is advised not to wander in the church while mass is being held. Mass times are on the wall in the entry to the church.

Carlo Maratta


Annibale Carracci

Artists in Santa Maria del Popolo
Sebastiano del Piombo
Carlo Maratta
Daniel Seyter
Giacomo Triga

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking around Rome was the best way to see everything but the metro, trams and buses are an easy and cheap option also.

Most buses and metros do get crowded and tickets must be bought before boarding and validated when you first get on but it is a great way to get around and see Rome if you are short on time or suffer from sore feet.

Buses #40 and #64 starts at Termini and ends near St. Peter's traveling past other places of interest, returning the same way.

Bus #75 takes you past the Colosseum

Bus #910 takes you to Villa Borghese

#64 & #40 Express Bus


Piazza Venezia

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Campo de'Fiori

St. Peter's

The Electric buses that are around Rome can travel into the older parts of the city and wind around the narrow streets. Bus #116 travels though the streets of Centro Storico.

Ticket Options

B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro,tram or bus ride for a 100 minute period.

B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

B.T.I (Turistic) is a 3 day tourist ticket and the same as B.I.G but for more days of travel.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding ticket. Tickets once they are validated, start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.