Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva), Rome

"Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva), Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 29th April 2011

Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva), Rome

The Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva (Latin: Basilica Sanctae Mariae supra Minervam, Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva) is a titular minor basilica and one of the most important churches of the Roman Catholic Dominican order in Rome, Italy. The church, located in the Piazza della Minerva in the Campus Martius region, is considered the only Gothic church in Rome. Founded on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Minerva Calcidica during C. VII, it was rebuilt with Gothic shapes during C.XII. During the Renaissance the façade was reordered and substantial internal works were performed. On the façade only three portals are left from teh epoch. Particular attention has to be paid to the Egyptian obelisk, supported by a little elephant, which is located next to the church.

Chiesa di S.Maria sopra Minerva grew out of an oratory built over the ancient Temple of Minerva Calcidica before the 9th century A.D., and in 1280 was assigned to the Dominicans by Nicolas III. Thus, it became a center of Dominican activity in Rome, which was supporting the strength of the Church and its doctrine, and gave a big number of Inquisitors, so that the Tribunal of Inquisition quite often occupied the convent of S.Maria sopra Minerva. Such importance of the order explains the beauty and richness of its church with a number of chapels of the noble Roman families.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva - outer view
It was modelled on the Dominican Basilica di S.Maria Novella in Florence, probably by the same architects Fra Sisto and Fra Ristoro. The other works took place in the 15th and 17th centuries, with participation of great number of architects. It is the only Gothic church in Rome. The facade was transformed in 1630 and has a Renaissance door with a marble frieze. There are also the tablets with the marks showing the level of water reached during some floods of Tiber, but they are not trustable now, because were shifted from their original places.

Right aisle

Santa Maria sopra Minerva - interior inside

Right transept

Cappella Carafa with the celebrated frescoes by F.Lippi; a monument of Paul IV designed by P.Ligorio; wooden 15th century crucifix; a tomb of Guillaume Durand, by Giovanni di Cosma; painting by C.Maratta, frescoed ceiling by M.Venusti; a tomb of cardinal Capranica (1458); an organ by Ennio Bonifazi and P.Marucelli (1620).


Christ bearing the Cross by Michelangelo; a high altar with the body of St Catherine of Siena; the tombs of Leo X and Clement VII, by A.da Sangallo the Younger, R.da Montelupo, Nanni di B.B; a slab-tomb of cardinal Pietro Bembo (1547), secretary to Leo X and friend of Michelangelo and Raphael.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva - transept tomb

Left aisle

Left transept

several large monuments, by G.Della Porta, G.L.Bernini and etc.; a tomb-slab of Beato Angelico, attributed to I.da Pisa; an altarpiece by B.Angelico; a tomb of Giovanni Arberini with a splendid bas-relief of Hercules and the lion, probably a Roman copy of an original Greek work of the 5th century b.C.; a tomb of Benedict XIII, with sculptures by P.Bracci; a tomb of A.Bregno; a tomb of Maria Raggi, by G.L.Bernini; an organ by Ennio Bonifazi and P.Marucelli (1620).


Here two conclaves took place: in 1431 election of Eugenius IV and in 1437 election of Nicolas V.

Camera di S.Caterina

It is a reconstruction of original room where St Catherine of Siena lived and died during here sojourn in Rome, which was located in not far from the church building, and from where the pavement and walls were brought here.

Sala dei Papi

Sala dei Papi has a colossal statue of Madonna, by school of G.L.Bernini. A little Museum of Sacred Art is also here. In the large cloister built in 1566 are two funerary monuments attributed to A.Bregno, an ample portico on pilasters, vaults decorated with grotesques executed in the 16th century, on the walls are the paintings of the 17th century.

The beautiful façade of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva church that looks at it by the side is quite singular for the contrast: it is so simple that it does not leave any room to fantasy. The interior represents the only example of a Gothic architectural complex in Rome. It has three naves with cross vaults laid on pilasters, whose marble coating and the pictorial decoration are a result of the restoration (1850) that has deprived the monument from its original aspect.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva)
Piazza della Minerva, 42
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Pigna (Torre Argentina) (Roma centro)
Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva) is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "48"
Contact - Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva)
Telephone: 0039 06 6793926
Fax: 0039 06 6990672
Hours: Open 07:10am-07:00pm, Sunday 08:00am-12:00pm 02:00pm-07:00pm

You can reach Piazza della Minerva By the following Bus Station:
(Know before you go: Rome Bus stops, Bus Lines, Signs, Color, etc.)
Bus: 30, 40, 62, 64, 70, 87, 116, or 492

Closest Underground Metro stations near Piazza della Minerva: (Get an idea of : Rome Underground METRO Lines System and Trains)
METRO A BARBERINI, Barberini (piazza), 10, 514 mt.
METRO B COLOSSEO, Del Colosseo (piazza), 1, 636 mt.
METRO B CAVOUR, Visconti Venosta (largo), 228, 643 mt.
METRO A REPUBBLICA, Della Repubblica (piazza), 55, 645 mt.
METRO B CIRCO MASSIMO, Del Circo Massimo (via), 1, 671 mt.
METRO A SPAGNA, Della Trinita' Dei Monti (piazza), 3, 714 mt.
METRO B TERMINI, dei cinquecento (piazza), 84, 778 mt.
METRO A TERMINI, piazza dei cinquecento, 1, 884 mt.
METRO B CASTRO PRETORIO, Castro Pretorio (viale), 123, 1.0 km
METRO A LEPANTO, Lepanto (via), 1, 1.1 km

Closest Railway stations near Piazza della Minerva:
STAZIONE TERMINI, Dei Cinquecento (piazza), 1, 884 mt.
STAZIONE TRASTEVERE, Flavio Biondo (piazza), 1, 900 mt.
ROMALIDO PORTA SAN PAOLO, piazzale ostiense, 1, 906 mt.
STAZIONE OSTIENSE, Dei Partigiani (piazzale), 36, 1.1 km
FR3 QUATTRO VENTI, Viale dei Quattro Venti, 1.1 km
STAZIONE FLAMINIO, Di Villa Ruffo (via), 1, 1.1 km
ROMAPANTANO TERMINI LAZIALI, Giovanni Giolitti (via), 64, 1.1 km

Closest Tourist Information Points near Piazza della Minerva:
Fontana di Trevi, Via Minghetti, 253 mt.
Navona, Piazza delle Cinque Lune, 437 mt.
Trastevere, Piazza Sonnino, 437 mt.
Visitor Center Fori Imperiali, Via dei Fori Imperiali, 512 mt.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Via Nazionale 194, 614 mt.
Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Pia, 775 mt.

Getting To Church/ Chiesa Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Basilica of Saint Mary Above Minerva) at Piazza della Minerva From Church/ Chiesa di Santa Chiara (Via di Santa Chiara) :
Departure from roma piazza di santa chiara , 1
walk 100 meters
to roma piazza della minerva , 1
distance covered (metres) 100 meters.

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