Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Santa Bibiana

where: Via Giovanni Giolitti, 154
getting there: metro - linea A/Vittorio Emanuele (It takes about 15 minutes to walk from Termini train station to the church, the closest metro stop is 10 minutes from the Vittorio Emanuele station)
open: daily 7:30-10:00 & 16:30-19:30

Santa Bibiana is a Baroque church designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini in 1624 for the Jubilee year of 1625. It was commissioned by Barberini Pope Urban VIII.
Once in the countryside the church now stands in front of the tracks that lead to Termini train station and unfortunately it looks a little sad and unloved.
A church was first noted to be on this site in the 5th century. Legend has it that it was built on the family home of Bibiana, a Roman virgin and martyr, who was tied to a column and lashed to death in the 4th century.
If it is open it is worthy of a look inside to see Bernini's marble statue at the main altar of Saint Bibiana — holding the palm leaf of martyrs — completed in time for the the Holy Year of 1625.
For the same Jubilee date Pietro da Cortona and Agostino Ciampelli were commissioned to decorate the walls of the nave with scenes of the life and martyrdom of Saint Bibiana and her family. Both artists incorporated the three bees of the Barberini family crest into their designs, with the left wall decorated by Ciampelli and the right wall by da Cortona.



Art in Santa Bibiana
Agostino Ciampelli

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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.