Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae de Ara coeli in Capitolium, Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli al Campidoglio) is a titular basilica in Rome, located on the highest summit of the Campidoglio. It is still the designated Church of the city council of Rome, which uses the ancient title of Senatus Populusque Romanus. The present Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Sanctae Mariae de Aracoeli is Salvatore De Giorgi.

Rom, Basilika Santa Maria in in Aracoeli, Innenansicht
Interior of the church.
Cavallini fresco - Aracoeli - antmoose - cropped
Fresco of Madonna and the Child by Pietro Cavallini.

The shrine is known for housing relics belonging to Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, various minor relics from the Holy Sepulchre, both the canonically crowned images of Nostra Signora di Mano di Oro di Aracoeli (1636) on the high altar and the Santo Bambino of Aracoeli (1897).

Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven
Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli (in Italian)
Basilica Sanctae Mariae de Ara coeli (in Latin)
Aracoeli-fachada
Façade of the Basilica with the monumental staircase.
Religion
AffiliationRoman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMinor basilica
LeadershipSalvatore De Giorgi
Location
LocationRome, Italy
Geographic coordinates41°53′38″N 12°29′00″E / 41.89389°N 12.48333°ECoordinates: 41°53′38″N 12°29′00″E / 41.89389°N 12.48333°E
Architecture
Architectural typeChurch
Architectural styleRomanesque, Gothic
Completed12th century
Specifications
Direction of façadeWest by South
Length80 metres (260 ft)
Width45 metres (148 ft)
Width (nave)20 metres (66 ft)
Website
Official Website

History

Originally the church was named Sancta Maria in Capitolio, since it was sited on the Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio, in Italian) of Ancient Rome; by the 14th century it had been renamed. A medieval legend included in the mid-12th-century guide to Rome, Mirabilia Urbis Romae, claimed that the church was built over an Augustan Ara primogeniti Dei, in the place where the Tiburtine Sibyl prophesied to Augustus the coming of the Christ. "For this reason the figures of Augustus and of the Tiburtine sibyl are painted on either side of the arch above the high altar" (Lanciani chapter 1). A later legend substituted an apparition of the Virgin Mary. In the Middle Ages, condemned criminals were executed at the foot of the steps; there the self-proclaimed Tribune and reviver of the Roman Republic Cola di Rienzo met his death, near the spot where his statue commemorates him.

In The History of Money, anthropologist Jack Weatherford goes into some detail about the church's previous incarnation as the temple of Juno Moneta—on the Arx—after whom Money is named.

According to Roman historians, in the fourth century B.C., the irritated honking of the sacred geese around Juno's temple on Capitoline Hill warned the people of an impending night attack by the Gauls, who were secretly scaling the walls of the citadel. From this event, the goddess acquired [the] surname-Juno Moneta, from Latin monere (to warn). . .As patroness of the state, Juno Moneta presided over various activities of the state, including the primary activity of issuing money.

. . . from Moneta came the modem English words mint and money and, ultimately, from the Latin word meaning warning.

Today, the site of the Temple of Juno Moneta, the source of the great stream of Roman currency, has given way to the ancient . . . brick church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Centuries ago, church architects incorporated the ruins of the ancient temple into the new building.[1]

The church is also thought to have replaced the auguraculum, the seat of the augurs.

The foundation of the church was laid on the site of a Byzantine abbey mentioned in 574. Many buildings were built around the first church; in the upper part they gave rise to a cloister, while on the slopes of the hill a little quarter and a market grew up. Remains of these buildings - such as the little church of San Biagio de Mercato and the underlying "Insula Romana") - were discovered in the 1930s. At first the church followed the Greek rite, a sign of the power of the Byzantine exarch. Taken over by the papacy by the 9th century, the church was given first to the Benedictines, then, by papal bull to the Franciscans in 1249–1250; under the Franciscans it received its Romanesque-Gothic aspect. The arches that divide the nave from the aisles are supported on columns, no two precisely alike, scavenged from Roman ruins.

During the Middle Ages, this church became the centre of the religious and civil life of the city. in particular during the republican experience of the 14th century, when Cola di Rienzo inaugurated the monumental stairway of 124 steps in front of the church, designed in 1348 by Simone Andreozzi, on the occasion of the Black Death.

Aracoeli8
Central fresco by Pinturicchio in the S. Bernardino Chapel (1486).
Aracoeli2b
Ceiling.
Vergine Aracoeli
Madonna Aracoeli

In 1571, Santa Maria in Aracoeli hosted the celebrations honoring Marcantonio Colonna after the victorious Battle of Lepanto over the Turkish fleet. Marking this occasion, the compartmented ceiling was gilded and painted (finished 1575), to thank the Blessed Virgin for the victory. In 1797, with the Roman Republic, the basilica was deconsecrated and turned into a stable.

Interior

The original unfinished façade has lost the mosaics and subsequent frescoes that originally decorated it, save a mosaic in the tympanum of the main door, one of three doors that are later additions. The Gothic window is the main detail that tourists can see from the bottom of the stairs, but it is the sole truly Gothic detail of the church.

The church is built as a nave and two aisles that are divided by Roman columns, all different, taken from diverse antique monuments. Among its numerous treasures are Pinturicchio's 15th-century frescoes depicting the life of Saint Bernardino of Siena in the Bufalini Chapel, the first chapel on the right. Other features are the wooden ceiling, the inlaid cosmatesque floor, a Transfiguration painted on wood by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta, the tombstone of Giovanni Crivelli by Donatello, the tomb of Cecchino dei Bracci, designed by his friend Michelangelo (who also wrote love sonnets in his dedication), and works by other artists like Pietro Cavallini (of his frescoes only one survives), Benozzo Gozzoli and Giulio Romano. It houses also Madonna Aracoeli (Our Lady of the Golden Hands), (Byzantian icon, the 10-11th-century) in the Altar. This Marian image was Pontifically crowned on 29 March 1636 by Pope Urban VIII. Pope Pius XII consecrated the people of Rome to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Heart in front of this image in 1948, May 30. In the transept there is a sepulchral monument by Arnolfo di Cambio. The church was also famous in Rome for the wooden statue of the Santo Bambino of Aracoeli, carved in the 15th century of olive wood coming from the Gethsemane garden and covered with valuable ex-votos. Many people of Rome believed in the power of this statue. It had been taken by the French in 1797, was later recovered, yet stolen again in February 1994. A copy was made from Gethsemane wood,[2] which is now displayed in its own chapel by the sacristy. At midnight Mass on Christmas Eve the image is brought out to a throne before the high altar and unveiled at the Gloria. Until Epiphany the jewel-encrusted image resides in the Nativity crib in the left nave.

The relics of Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great are housed at Santa Maria in Aracoeli, as are the remains of Saint Juniper, one of the original followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. Pope Honorius IV and Queen Catherine of Bosnia are also buried in the church. The tablet with the monogram of Jesus that Saint Bernardino of Siena used to promote devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is kept in Aracoeli.

Burials

Curiosities

  • The church also contains the marble tomb of Cecchino Bracci, pupil and lover of artist Michelangelo who had dedicated a number of poems in his name. The tomb's design (not the carving) is by Michelangelo.
  • A part of the last mission of the videogame Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood takes place in this basilica.
  • In this church, football player Francesco Totti and Ilary Blasi celebrated their marriage in 2005, followed by thousands of fans.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Weatherford, Jack McIver (1997). The History of Money: From Sandstone to Cyberspace. New York: Three Rivers Press. p. 48. ISBN 9780609801727.
  2. ^ Ingrid D. Rowland (2012) Anachronic Renaissance, Konsthistorisk tidskrift/ Journal of Art History, 81:3, 172-177, DOI: 10.1080/00233609.2012.706234
  3. ^ Farrell, Paul (27 May 2017). "Ilary Blasi, Francesco Totti's Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Retrieved 29 May 2018.

Bibliography

  • Johanna Elfriede Louise Heideman, The cinquecento chapel decorations in S. Maria in Aracoeli in Rome, Academische Pers, 1982.

External links

Alamanno Salviati

Alamanno Salviati (20 March 1669 – 24 February 1733) was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.

He was a descendant of Jacopo Salviati, and born in Florence to the prominent Salviati family. He was named a cardinal on 8 February 1730. The same year he was installed as Cardinal priest of the church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli of Rome. He participated in the conclave of 1730. A son of Jacopo, named Alamanno, was a prominent politician in the early 16th century.

Arx (Roman)

Arx is a Latin word meaning "citadel". In the ancient city of Rome, the arx was located on the northern spur of the Capitoline Hill, and is sometimes specified as the Arx Capitolina.

Caelian Hill

The Caelian Hill (; Latin: Collis Caelius; Italian: Celio [ˈtʃɛːljo]) is one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome, Italy.

Christopher Numar of Forli

Christopher Numar of Forli (date of birth uncertain; d. at Ancona, 23 March 1528) was an Italian Franciscan, who became Minister general of the Friars Minor and cardinal.

Esquiline Hill

The Esquiline Hill (; Latin: Collis Esquilinus; Italian: Esquilino [eskwiˈliːno]) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Its southern-most cusp is the Oppius (Oppian Hill).

Eugenio Ruspoli

Prince Eugenio Ruspoli (Țigănești, 6 January 1866 – near Burgi, Somalia, 4 December 1893) was an Italian explorer and naturalist. He was the author of the book Nel Paese della Mirra, published in 1892.

Fontana dell'Acqua Felice

The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinale District of Rome, Italy. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.

Francesco Satolli

Francesco Satolli (July 21, 1839 – January 8, 1910) was an Italian Roman Catholic theologian, professor, Cardinal and the first Apostolic delegate to the United States.

Giacomo de Angelis

Giacomo de Angelis (1610–1695) was a Roman Catholic cardinal.

Henry Hughes (Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar)

Henry Hughes, O.F.M. (1788–1860) was an Irish-born Roman Catholic bishop and Franciscan friar who served as the Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar from 1839 to 1856.Born in Wexford, Ireland on 26 June 1788, he was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Gibraltar and Titular Bishop of Heliopolis in Augustamnica by Pope Gregory XVI on 15 March 1839. His consecration to the Episcopate took place on 21 March 1841; the principal consecrator was Giacomo Filippo Fransoni, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, with Ignazio Giovanni Cadolini, Titular Archbishop of Edessa in Osrhoëne, serving as co-consecrator.Bishop Hughes resigned in 1856 and died on 12 October 1860, aged 72.

Piazza Farnese

Piazza Farnese, in Rome, is the main square of the Regola district.

Pietro Urbano

Pietro Urbano was an Italian artist of the Renaissance period. He was born in Pistoia, and was a pupil of Michelangelo as sculptor.

In the roman Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, he sculpted the funeral monument of Cecchino Brachi, another pupil of Michelangelo, dead at the age of sixteen.

San Matteo in Merulana

San Matteo in Via Merulana was a titular church in Rome, dedicated to the Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, for cardinal priests (the intermediary class).

Temple of Saturn

The Temple of Saturn (Latin: Templum Saturni or Aedes Saturni; Italian: Tempio di Saturno) was an ancient Roman temple to the god Saturn. Its ruins stand at the foot of the Capitoline Hill at the western end of the Roman Forum. The original dedication of the temple is traditionally dated to 497 BC, but ancient writers disagreed greatly about the history of this site.

Tommaso Orsini

Tommaso Orsini (died 25 January 1576) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Foligno (1568–1576)

and Bishop of Strongoli (1566–1568).

Torre dei Capocci

Torre dei Capocci (The Capocci Tower) is a tower at San Martino ai Monti square in Rome, Italy.Torre dei Capocci, along the opposite Torre dei Graziani, constitutes a kind of monumental entrance to top of the hill Esquilino. Built by the family of Arcioni in the 12th century, it afterwards went to the Capoccis, a noble family from Viterbo. These erected around the tower a number of houses, which no longer exist, but which made the building a sort of citadel. The tower, 36 meters high, has a square base, has windows framed in travertine and consists of seven floors, in addition to the ground floor and the terrace, the latter bordered by a brick parapet, edged by five full battlements on each side, emerges where the output hopper of the staircase.

Villa Ada

Villa Ada is a park in Rome, Italy, with a surface of 450 acres (1.8 km2) it is the second largest in the city after Villa Doria Pamphili. It is located in the northeastern part of the city.

Viminal Hill

The Viminal Hill (; Latin: Collis Viminalis; Italian: Viminale [vimiˈnaːle]) is the smallest of the famous Seven Hills of Rome. A finger-shape cusp pointing toward central Rome between the Quirinal Hill to the northwest and the Esquiline Hill to the southeast, it is home to the Teatro dell'Opera and the Termini Railway Station.

At the top of Viminal Hill is the Palace of Viminale that hosts the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior; currently the term Il Viminale means the Ministry of the Interior.

According to Livy, the hill first became part of the city of Rome, along with the Quirinal Hill, during the reign of Servius Tullius, Rome' sixth king, in the 6th century BC.

Major
Minor
Bridges
Basilicas
and churches
Architecture and art
Parks and gardens
Piazzas and
public spaces
Streets
Museums
Palaces
Metropolitan City
of Rome Capital
Events and traditions
Related

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.