Saturday, February 16, 2019

Santa Bibiana

where: Via Giovanni Giolitti, 154
getting there: metro - linea A/Vittorio Emanuele + 5 minute walk to Santa Bibiana (or it takes about 15 minutes to walk from Termini train station to the church)
open: daily 7:30-10:00 & 16:30-19:30

The Baroque church of Santa Bibiana was commissioned by Barberini Pope Urban VIII and designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini in 1624 for the Jubilee year of 1625.
A church has been noted on this site from the 5th century and 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.
Once in the countryside, the church now stands in front of the train tracks that lead to the Termini Station. It's a bit of a hike to get to the church, but hopefully once you get there it will be open and worthwhile a visit 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 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, the right wall decorated by Ciampelli and the left wall by da Cortona.

(In 2018 the statue of Saint Bibiana was loaned to the Galleria Borghese for a Bernini exhibition, the sculpture was damaged and lost a finger while being returned to the church, but is now restored.)

Agostino Ciampelli (right wall)

Pietro da Cortona (left wall)

Art in Santa Bibiana
Agostino Ciampelli

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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.

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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

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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.

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