Sunday, May 22, 2011

Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte

where: Via Giulia, 262
getting there: half-way down Via Giulia near the Arco Farnese
open: 10:00-12:15 & 16:00-18:00 possibly closed July and August

I've always been curious to see inside Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte, the church on Via Giulia near the Farnese Arch, but every time I've tried to visit the church — decorated with skulls and winged skeletons — I've found it to be closed.
The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and its name translates to Saint Mary of Prayer and Death.
It was built in 1575 by a charity that took on the responsibility of burying the abandoned corpses of the poor people of Rome.
The church was remodeled in 1733 and the facade decorated with the gorgeous laureled skulls and winged skeletons on the marble alms boxes.
Inside the church are frescoes by Giovanni Lanfranco of St Anthony Abbot and St Paul of Thebes and an altarpiece by Ciro Ferri of the Crucifixion.
There is a copy of  Guido Reni's St Michael and the Angel in the Chapel of Saint Michael and the sacristy has paintings by Giacinto Brandi.

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

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

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once 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.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki