Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (47)

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is one of the few examples of Gothic architecture that Rome possesses. The church dates from the 13th century, when two monks established it as a religious centre of the Dominicans.

Built over an earlier temple that was said to be dedicated to Minerva, there are few churches that possess as many works of art as this one.

Gradually added to the simple original building were different chapels, paid for by the wealthiest Roman families of the time. These families commissioned the decoration of their chapels to the most important artists. This is why you can find great works of art here.

One of the most important is the “Annunciation” by Antoniazzo Romano, where Cardinal Torquemada, the father of the Inquisition, is represented. If you go to the luxurious Capella Aldobrandini, you will also be able to see a series of wonderful Renaissance frescos by Filippino Lippi.

Another masterpiece you can see inside is the sculpture of “Christ Resuscitated” that Michelangelo started but which was completed by Raffaele da Montelupo.

The church also gets many visitors because buried here are many famous Italians such as Saint Catherine or Fra Angelico. 

As a curiosity, you should know that they say that it was in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva where, in 1465, Saint Valentine was named the patron saint of people in love.

Before leaving, remember that you can ask permission to visit the sacristy, the place where two conclaves were held and where Saint Catherine died.

You should also have a look at the charming obelisk standing in the square outside. This monolith, designed by Bernini, rests over the sculpture of a young elephant.

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