on June 17, 2004
This is my favourite Roman church! It is located on Piazza della Minerva, 5 minutes away from the Pantheon. There is a sculpture by Bernini (again) of a small elephant supporting an obelisk (another one). It is one of the cutest and most surprising of Bernini's sculptures. Santa Maria is built on the site of a Roman temple wrongly attributed to Minerva, goddess of wisdom. You can visit the crypt where the ruins are for a small fee. Built by the Dominicans in the early 13th century, it is the only gothic style church in Rome (although the facade has been rebuilt in the 19th century), it is complete with the typical gothic stained glass window. The ceiling painted in night blue with golden stars gives it a mystical vibe. It is also the home of one of Michelangelo’s earliest works. A sculpture of Jesus Christ the redeemer is represented with his cross. The remains of St-Catherine of Sienna are also here. Look in the carafa Chapel and you'll find a beautiful fresco representing the life of St-Thomas Aquinas. And talking of painting, Fra Angelico is also buried there.
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