Santa Maria in Trastevere

Santa Maria in Trastevere Altar area

Santa Maria in Trastevere

Oldest St. Mary’s church in Rome

The church of Santa Maria in Trastevere is the oldest Church of St. Mary in the world. According to legend, an oil well opened here precisely 38 years B.C., which indicated to the resident Jews that the Messiah would soon come. The church was started by Pope Callistus I in 221 and is likely to be the first place where the Christians were allowed to openly celebrate their worship. The present building dates from the 12th Century, when Pope Innocent II renewed the previous building. On the exterior façade you can see Maria between 10 female saints.

Worth seeing inside the three-nave basilica are the Cosmati floor works and the partly gilded coffered ceiling. The mosaics in the apse date from the 12th Century and are among the most beautiful medieval mosaics of Rome.

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