Friday, March 11, 2005

Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli incorporated the central chambers of Diocletian's baths

Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli
Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, originally uploaded by mharrsch.
We grabbed some tasty sandwiches at Termini then, following the map supplied by our hotel, set out for Piazza del Republica that we thought had to be the nearest stop to the Museo Nationale di Roma. We did not realize we had spent the entire morning in one venue of the Museum at Diocletian's Baths. To our surprise, we got off at the stop indicated on the map and proceeded to wander in a virtual circle asking Italians where their national museum was and finally discovered it was right next to Termini if we had taken our eyes off the traffic (read as Italian men) we would have seen the sign on the building. As it was, we wandered about for the better part of an hour and a half. At one point we did wander through the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at the direction of a priest we met in an alley. The church was so ornate and embellished with paintings that Pat says mostly featured saints being put to death in various interesting ways. I did find them quite beautiful.

" When the Medici pope called in his chosen architect, Michelangelo, both of these aging Renaissance men wanted to honor the architectural wonders of the past by converting a monument of pagan hedonism into a religious masterpiece.

The unprepossessing facade is a rounded brick wall, one of the interior partitions of Diocletian's ancient Bath.

The church's entrance originally separated the now-vanished hot "caldarium" baths from the luke-warm "tepidarium" of Diocletian̢۪s Bath, which is now the church's vestibule.
Next comes the finest statue in the church, representing St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian order, by the 18C French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.
You then enter the ancient Bath's central hall. The altar is straight ahead on the short axis of the nave, while the overwhelming bulk of the original baths runs in both directions toward the altars on either side, lavishly decorated by Vanvitelli.
The effect of this crossing at the center is breathtaking for its vast size and elegant proportions.

Italian state funerals are usually held here. During the Christmas and Easter seasons there are concerts of religious music. - Roma Online

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