Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome

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  • Still in old part of Church
    Still in old part of Church
    by alza
  • another side chapel
    another side chapel
    by gwened
  • across piazza della repubblica to basilica
    across piazza della repubblica to...
    by gwened
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria degli Angeli - A church in the Baths.

    by breughel Updated Jan 20, 2014

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    Santa Maria degli Angeli - transept.
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    One enters this church by a door in the ruined wall of what was in his time the caldarium of the Diocletian Baths. The vestibule of the church is the tepidarium of the Terme.
    The huge transept of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) is nothing else than the central part of the Terme di Diocleziano built around 300 A.D. by thousands of Christian slave workers.

    The church ordered (1561) by pope Pius IV was constructed on a design of Michelangelo.
    After a number of changes the church was transformed by the architect Vanvitelli around 1750. By building this church inside the antic baths and using the walls and vaults one can see now how ample and majestic were the antic constructions. The present surface of the church is only about one fifth of the surface of the antique baths.
    It is interesting to compare the Caracalla ruins and this still vaulted construction.

    The present transept of the church is largely decorated with paintings coming from the St Peters basilica where they were replaced by mosaics on the walls. The paintings, the polychrome floors, the eight monolithic red granite columns and the choir have made of this church a monument to history, art, faith and, more surprising, to science with the meridian line build in 1702 through the church by astronomer F. Bianchini on request of Pope Clement XI.
    Open 7 - 18.30 h (Sunday 19.30 h).

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    MERIDIAN of Santa Maria degli Angeli

    by breughel Updated Jan 20, 2014

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    MERIDIAN line of Santa Maria degli Angeli
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    This church, a basilica in fact, is not only stunning because built in the baths of Diocletian but also extraordinary because it contains a meridian line or sort of sundial.
    In 1702 the astronomer and mathematician Francesco Bianchini built this meridian line at request of Pope Clement XI.
    The meridian line composed of bronze, enclosed in yellow-white marble, runs in a diagonal way from the right part of the transept to the left part of the choir over a distance of 45 m.
    Pope Clement XI wanted to check the accuracy of the Gregorian calendar and so to exactly predict Easter. Another object was to give Rome a meridian line as Bologna's cathedral had aready one.

    The church of Santa Maria degli Angeli was chosen because the antique building was very stable. The instruments would not move. Furthermore the Baths were oriented to the south and the height of the walls allowed a precise measure of the progress of the sun through the year.
    Bianchini, in addition to the line to mark the sun, added holes in the ceiling to mark the passage of stars. The meridian line, restored in 2002, is still operational today.
    Visitors who are interested in astronomy can read on the website of the church www.santamariadegliangeliroma.it all scientific details in Italian, English, French and Spanish about the Clementine gnomon, observation of stars, equinoxes and solstices, the solar image produced by the pinhole at 20.35 m in height.
    Very useful info before visiting the church.
    Open 7 - 18.30 h (Sunday 19.30 h). Free.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Basilica Sta Maria dei angeli et dei Martiri

    by gwened Written Aug 25, 2013
    across piazza della repubblica to basilica
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    This is magnificent building basilica and easy to get to,it was a surprise to me that size and sumptous beauty of it inside. a must to visit in my book.

    More on it from the site
    The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri is a Roman basilica dedicated to the martyrs Christians, supposed to have built the baths of Diocletian.The current church occupies the old rooms of the caldarium (facade, entrance), especially of the immense frigidarium and tepidarium (or Basilica room) of the baths. It retains a monumental meridional line, added in the 18th century. At the request of Pope Pius IV, Michelangelo worked in his old age to the transformation of the baths in church until 1561. The Kingdom of Italy (1870-1946) had its official Church here. Still today the Italian Republic uses the Basilica for national ceremonies.
    The Interior forms a cross which the transept is longer than the nave. A Hall built in the tepidarium - tepid room of the baths - contains the tombs of the Salvator Rosa 1615-1673 painters and its descendants and Carlo Maratta. The transept is installed in the great Hall of the baths which retains eight ancient monolithic columns of red granite. In the right arm of the transept are the tombs of great soldiers of the first world war. The choir also has a fresco of Domenichino, the martyrdom of saint Sebastian and the baptism of Jesus by Maratta. Around 1700, Pope Clement XI asked Francesco Bianchini, astronomer, mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher, to build a meridian line, sort of Sundial, within the Basilica. The Pope wanted to check the accuracy of the Gregorian reform of the calendar and needed a way to accurately predict the date of Easter. Finally, he wanted that Rome has a time as important as built little Meridian previously by Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625 Perinaldo - Paris 1712), in the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna.
    The Basilica had for this installation a few advantages: like the other baths of Rome, the building was already naturally South-facing, so exposed to the Sun; the height of the walls allowed to draw a very long line to measure the advance of the Sun throughout the year; the ancient walls were stabilized in soil, long ensuring that observational instruments calibrated carefully do not needed; Finally, set in the former baths of Diocletian, the Meridian would represent a symbolic victory of the Christian calendar on the pagan calendar.Bianchini's Sundial was installed on the Meridian that crosses Rome, at longitude 12 ° 50'. At solar noon, around 12:15 (13 h 15 in summer), Rome time, small hole drilled in the wall book passage to the solar rays that reach the Meridian. At the summer solstice, the Sun is at its zenith and its rays strike the meridional line closer to the wall. At the winter solstice the rays cross the line to the furthest point. At each Equinox, the Sun key line halfway. The line is marked by a bronze blade 45 metres long, crimped between yellow and white marble slabs.

    Awesome, you all should see this.

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    Basilica in the Baths

    by goodfish Updated May 15, 2013

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    Another St. Mary’s (I’ve lost count)…

    An elderly Michelangelo incorporated the crumbling great hall, frigidarium and tempidarium of Diocletian’s enormous baths into his design for the basilica of St. Mary's of the Angels and Martyrs. He only lived long enough to see initial construction and while his grand plan was carried out, successive overhauls have erased much of his original vision. Its sheer size and lofty heights give you some idea of the immensity of this largest of the Roman baths; the ruins of Terme di Caracalla across town are a good example of how much real estate these ancient spas could take up.

    Vestiges of the baths are clearly evident around the perimeter of the church and the Terme di Diocleziano unit of the Museo Nazionale Romano located directly behind it. Inside, you’ll find the usual amount of chapels, paintings, relics, tombs and whatnot but do look for the eight granite columns from the original baths at the corners of the transept. Most interesting is an early 18th-century brass gnomon in the floor of the south transept. I’ve seen three others of these - in Florence's cathedral, near the duomo in Bergamo, and in Saint-Suplice in Paris - but this one, with its inset astrological signs, is the most elaborate of the four. Look for the small hole high on the southern wall that lets in the beam of light, and there is signage that describes how it works.

    Entrance is free; visiting info:
    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/luoghi-di-culto-di-interesse-storico-artistico/chiese-cattoliche/santa-maria-degli-angeli-e-dei-martiri.html

    And the church's website with other good information:
    http://www.santamariadegliangeliroma.it/index.htm?lingua=INGLESE&cambialingua=SI

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  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs

    by Aitana Written Feb 9, 2013

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    This church was built in the frigidarium of the baths of Diocletian.
    Michelangelo was commanded to build a church in a part of the remains of the baths. There is no façade, just one of the apses of the baths. In contrast with the exterior, the interior of the church couldn’t be richer: the Baroque style at its maximum expression.

    The meridian solar line
    Francesco Bianchini (mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher) built the meridian line in the basilica (1702) commissioned by Pope Clement XI.
    This sundial was built with the aim to demonstrate the accuracy of the Gregorian Calendar, to determine the exact date of Easter and to provide Rome with a meridian line as important as the one built in Bologna short before.
    The meridian line is 45 m long, built in bronze enclosed in marble.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 26, 2011

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    Santa Maria degli Angeli
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    Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli is the fourth largest church in Rome and the largest dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the only basilica which preserved its original shape and character. In 356 the Virgin appeared in a dream before Pope Liberius and commanded him to build the church on the site where it would snow the following day. This legend is represented in the medieval mosaic in the loggia of the portico. The basilica, also called Liberiana, was built in the time of Pope Sixtus III (432-440). Its Romanesque bell-tower is the tallest in Rome.
    The interior of the basilica with three naves is magnificent, just check my pictures about.

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli

    by GracesTrips Written Jun 17, 2011

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    This was the very first church we saw when we arrived in Rome. I didn't think much of the outside of the church but upon entering it was so impressive and beautiful. I could not believe the enormity of it's size. They have this amazingly, large organ that I thought was unbelievable.

    Tidbits of information:

    The church was designed by Michelangelo and some later construction was also done. Pope Clement XI comissioned Francesco Bianchini to build a meridian line (like a sundial) because he wanted to check the accuracy of the Gregorian Calendar to predict exactly when Easter would be.

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    S. Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

    by alza Updated Oct 7, 2010

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    Formentelli Organ
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    This Church is at Piazza Repubblica and easy to reach. Highly recommended by a young attendant at the Downtown Youth Hostel, when I asked him what to see between Termini and Villa Borghese where I was heading. Later I saw him taking small groups on tours of Rome. I saw him often although he never handled the reception, so he must be the Hostel Guide. He's very pleasant and really knows Rome well.

    He told me Santa Maria degli Angeli was not much visited by tourists and that it was a real shame as it's very special -- he was right. I spent a long time around it and inside, it's filled with eclectic objects, sculptures and scientific explanations about the stars (famous meridian inside), plus it's attached to the Terme di Diocleziano (in fact built on part of those Baths.)

    Most of all, it has a Grande Orgue Magistrale, the biggest and most precious of Rome, made in 2000 by Barthélémy Formentelli. He built his masterpiece with the assistance of his son and wrote that they sought to achieve a sound quality described by Dom Bédos de Celles (1709-1779)

    "... une harmonie instrumentale nécessairement agréable à l'oreille: c'est en général un son moelleux, tendre, sonore, net, brillant, doux, éclatant... Chaque jeu a son harmonie particulière mais il doit réunir toutes ces qualités."
    (...instrumental harmony absolutely pleasing to the ear: in general, a mellow sound, tender, resonant, sharp, radiant, soft, loud... Every execution has its own harmony but must bring together all those qualities.)
    Isn't it fun to have so many words to describe a sound?

    Formentelli was inspired by the Dom Bédos organ at the Abbatiale Sainte-Croix in Bordeaux (built 1750), a famous instrument in the world of organs, with a fascinating recent history. I admire men like Formentelli who put such heart into creating a wonderful object.

    Other pics show some ruins and rooms from the Baths of Dioclezianus. Beside the statue of the Emperor, a plaque by the Church explaining the dedication of this Church to martyrs who met their death under his reign, particularly building his Terme.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

    by MM212 Updated Dec 15, 2009

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    Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
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    In 1563, Michelangelo designed the enormous Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri within the ruins of the tepidarium of the Baths of Diocletian. Though still beautiful, the interior of the Basilica has little left of Michelangelo's details, for an 18th century renovation by Luigi Vanvitelli completely changed the original design. The interior also contains an important Meridian Line, commissioned in 1702. Neither Michelangelo's original design nor Vanvitelli's subsequent renovation attempted to alter the exterior of the Basilica, which maintained the look of the ruined structure. The surviving remains of the baths are occupied by one of the four locations of the Museo Nazionale Romano, while the half circle of Piazza della Repubblica, just outside the church, traces the round exedra of the baths.

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  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri: interior

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated Aug 23, 2009

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    Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri: interior
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    As soon as you enter in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs you find a vestibule with canted corners and identical side chapels. It leads to a second vestibule where you can see the statue of Saint Bruno of Cologne by Jean Antoine Houdon (1766). The great vaulted transept gives a striking display of the magnificent scale of Roman constructions, 90.8 meters long, and 28 meters high. Raising the floor truncated the red granite Roman columns that articulate the transept and its flanking spaces.
    In the right transept there is the Linea Clementina (meridian line) and works by Tremollière, Ricciolini and Maraldi. In the left transept there are works by Batoni (Fallen of Simon Magus) and Subleyras (Mass of St.Basil). In the apse you can see the funeral monuments of Pope Pius IV and Giovanni Antonio Serbelloni made by Cioli (1583) and the painting Martirio di San Sebastiano (martyrdom of St.Sebastian) by Domenichino (1629)

    Santa Maria degli Angeli was the official state church during the Kingdom of Italy (1870-1946). The church hosts the tombs of General Armando Diaz and Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel, who were the commanders responsible for winning World War I on the Italian front.

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  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria degli Angeli: Linea Clementina

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated Aug 13, 2009

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    Linea Clementina
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    In the right transept of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs you can see the Linea Clementina (meridian line, in English).
    It was commissioned by Pope Clement XI at the beginning of the eighteenth century and it was built by Francesco Bianchini. It was built here because the church is southerly oriented, so as to receive unobstructed exposure to the sun and the height walls allowed a long line to make more precisely measure of the sun through the year.
    Bianchini's sundial was built along the meridian that crosses Rome, at longitude 12° 30' E. At solar noon the sun shines through a small hole in the wall to cast its light on this line each day. The meridian line built here is 45 meters long and is composed of bronze, enclosed in yellow-white marble.
    In addition to the line to mark the sun, Bianchini also added holes in the ceiling to mark the passage of stars and constellations.

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  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated Aug 13, 2009

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    Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
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    The basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs, in English) is built built inside the frigidarium of the Baths of Diocletian.
    Michelangelo Buonarroti worked from 1563 to 1566 to adapt a section of the remaining structure of the baths to enclose a church. Contemporarily the Carthusian buit the convent and the cloister.
    In 1749, to celebrate the Saint Year 1750, the church was restored by Luigi Vanvitelli in the nowdays shape. The church hasn't got a true facade: the simple entrance is set within one of the coved apses of a main space of the thermae. The plan is developed from a Greek cross, with a transept so dominant, with its cubical chapels at each end, that the effect is of a transverse nave.

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  • Lacristina's Profile Photo

    Santa Maria degli Angeli - Diocletian Baths

    by Lacristina Updated Aug 10, 2008

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    One of the amazing things about Rome is the way thousands of years of history appear in front of you, all at the same time – something from ancient Rome, something from the Renaissance, and something completely modern.

    For a wonderful example of this instant time warp, go and see Santa Maria degli Angeli.

    The history:
    Baths of Diocletian – built in 305 AD

    Santa Maria degli Angeli, the church – designed and built in the 1560s.

    The glass celestial dome by Narcissus Quagliata (yes, what an interesting name) – installed for the Jubilee Year 2000.

    The church was designed by Michelangelo out of part of the remains of the Diocletian Baths. The baths could accommodate 3000 bathers at a time. While Michelangelo designed and began work on the church, he died in 1564 before it was completed. Michelangelo must have admired the baths, as he changed so little of the interiors.

    When you enter, you’ll be amazed at the height of the original tepidarium, now the transept of the church – 29 meters, or 95 feet. The floor you stand on is about 30 feet above the original baths floor.

    A north-south meridian (a brass strip) crosses the floor on the right side of the transept. An opening high up on the southern wall (in a coat of arms) allows a beam of light from the sun to fall on the floor, lining up with the brass meridian at exactly true noon (which is about 12:15 in Rome).

    Using this theme of a celestial sundial, Quagliata designed a masterpiece, the glass dome called “Divinity in Light.” It is spectacular. There are three lenses in the dome designed and built by the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Mexico. The lenses project an image of the sun on the church floor, which also serves as a sundial.

    For more information on the glass dome, see http://www.nquagliata.com/

    For more information on the church, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_degli_Angeli_e_dei_Martiri

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    Basilica di Santa Maria

    by Gili_S Updated Feb 4, 2008

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    Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri located just by the Piazza della Repubblica, it is an old church from the 4th century but had to renovated during the years do to fire and other damages. The interior of this church is very interesting.

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    Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli

    by Airpunk Written Mar 5, 2006
    Facade of the unusual church

    This church was built into the ruins of the former diocletian baths giving the church its unusual style. The bath itself dates back to 305. The church was consecrated in 1561 and dedicated to the chirstian martyrs who built the bath. It is said but not confirmed that the churche's interior was designed by Michelangelo. Santa Maria degli Angeli is a place where Renaissance meets the antique Rome. For more information about the history check out http://roma.katolsk.no/mariaangeli.htm . For opening hours or information you can't find on the first page, check the URL given below (italian only...).

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