Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova)

"Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 29th June 2011

After the earthquake in the middle of the 9th century which destroyed S.Maria Antiqua in the Forum, it was abandoned and its diaconate moved to the Oratory of St peter and St Paul, built in 757-767 by pope St.Paul I. Thus, the oratory became the church Santa Maria Nova; In the 12th century it was enlarged, there were added an apse mosaic and 42m high bell-tower. The new consecration took place in 1161, and the church was reconstructed in 1216 by Honorius III. The facade is by Carlo Lombardi, created during the reconstruction of 1615. Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova)/ Chiesa di S.Maria Nova (o di S.Francesca Romana) is located next to the Roman Forum/ Forum Romanum (Foro Romano).

Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova) at Piazza di Santa Francesca Romana, Next to the Roman Forum
Santa Francesca Romana (Francesca Buzzi) founded the Congregation of Oblates here in 1421, which she herself joined after her husband died in 1436. She was canonized in 1608 and is the patron of motorists.

Interior consists of a big decorated hall with the side chapels. In the church are the tombs of painter Gentile da Fabriano, cardinal Marino Bulcani, Antonio da Rio and Gregory XI. The crypt conserves the body of St Francesca and a 17th century bas-relief representing the saint and an angel. The confession is by G.L.Bernini (1638-1649); the apse mosaics dates from 1161 and represents "Vergine in trono con il Bambino", the statues on both sides from it are by school of Bernini.

The interior has a single nave with side chapels and a rich paneled ceiling. In the church one finds a stone slab with the imprints, as one says, of San Pietro and San Paolo’s knees. Ever since 1352, the church is officiated by the Benedettini from Monteoliveto.

The sacristy preserves a 6th century colossal painting Vergine col Bambino, which may have come from S.Maria Antiqua, and it is one of the most ancient Christian paintings in existence.

There are two stones close to the tomb of Gregory XI, that have the imprint of the knees of St Peter, while he would pray for punishment if Simon Magus, who was demonstrating his wizardry by flying. According to this legend the Simon fell down due to the power of the St Peter's pray. The site of his fall is not far from the stones.

The church S.Maria Nova is the only survived example of Christian intervention in the Forum, because all the other constructions that grew during the centuries over the ancient imperial temples and basilicas were destroyed in the 20th century, to restitute the Forum its original look.

The facade of the Church of Holy Cross College, in Clonliffe in Dublin, Ireland, is a replica of Santa Francesca Romana. It was designed by the Gothic Architect J J McCarthy and is the only exception to his list of Gothic works.

Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova)
Piazza di Santa Francesca Romana, 4
Next to the Roman Forum
00186 , Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Campitelli (Foro Romano- Campidoglio-P.Venezia) (Roma centro)
Church of Santa Francesca Romana (Former Santa Maria Nova) is Shown By "Map K Zone" As "23"
Hours: Open 10.00-12.00 / 16.00-18.00. Mass times: Weekends: 11.00
Telephone: 0039 06 6795528
Fax: 0039 06 69940205

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