/ / Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio: photos, description Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio)

Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio: photos, description Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio)

Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio is a titular Basilica in Rome, located on top of Capitol hill. It was originally called Santa Maria in Capitoline, but in the 14th century and was renamed. Medieval legend says that the Church was built on the place where Tiburtina sibyl foretold the Emperor Augustus soon coming of Christ. For this reason the figures of Augustus and the sibyl are depicted on both sides of the arch above the main altar of the Church. In a later legend, the prophecy of the coming of Christ is replaced by the apparition of the virgin Mary. In the Middle ages, condemned criminals were executed right on the steps of the Basilica: so, here was the death of Cola di Rienzo, self-proclaimed tribune and political figure of the 14th century (near the place where now you can see his statue).

If you go back to historical facts, then it is known that the Foundation of the Church was laid on the site of a Byzantine Abbey mentioned in 574 year. Around that the first temple was built many different buildings, the ruins of which, for example, the small Church of San Biagio del Mercato, was discovered in the 1930-ies.

In the 9th century, the Basilica was handed over to the Benedictine, and 4 centuries later it became the property of the Franciscans, under the control of which it acquired its Romano-Gothic style. The arch separating the Central nave from the side aisles, rest on the columns, among which you will not find two identical - they are taken from ancient ruins.

In the Middle ages, Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio became the center of religious life in Rome, especially in the 14th century, when Cola di Rienzo has initiated the construction of a Church in front of the monumental staircase of 124 steps (it was designed in 1348 by Simone, Andreozzi). And in 1571 in the Church of the celebrated Marcantonio Colonna, commander of the fleet in the victorious battle of Lepanto. For this reason the arches of the Basilica was covered with gold and painted. But in 1797, the Basilica was secularized and for some time converted into a stable!

Today in the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli al Campidoglio almost not preserved the original mosaics and frescoes, and the Gothic window that tourists can see from the steps of the ladder, is the only truly Gothic element of the interior. Of the attractions of the temple can be called the frescoes of the 15th century works by Pinturicchio (in chapel Bufalini), tombstone works by Donatello, the tomb of Cecchino dei Bracci, made by his friend Michelangelo, a wooden copy of the statue of the Christ child 15th century (the original was stolen in 1994), as well as the relics of Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, and the tomb of the poet Giulio Salvadori.