Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
In the very centre of Trastevere, in one of the liveliest squares in Rome, the basilica of Our Lady’s in Trastevere (Santa Maria in Trastevere) stands in all its beauty. Founded in the 4rd century, it was totally reconstructed between 1138 and 1148 by Pope Innocent II Papareschi. The mosaic on the façade, probably the first representation of the Madonna enthroned and the Child, flanked by ten women holding lamps, dates back to the 13th century. In 1702 Carlo Fontana modified the original façade, replacing the ancient porch with the present and more classicizing one. The interiors has a central nave and two lateral aisles, divided by ancient Roman columns taken from the Baths of Caracalla. In the apse and in the triumphal arch mosaics with scenes from the Old and New Testament attributed to Pietro Cavallini and his school. Several additions during the 1500s and the 1600s, when some of the lateral chapels were opened (the Altemps and the Avila Chapel, for instance) and the wooden coffered ceiling with the Virgin’s Assumption in the middle was designed by Domenichino. On the altar, a 6th or 7th century icon in encaustic on wood, known as the Madonna della Clemenza, is venerated. Behind the church you will find the Community of Sant’Egidio, renowned for its charitable services for the homeless, Christmas lunch above all.