Santa Maria in Aracoeli

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

The basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, at the top of the staircase, is the home of several relics. Among them are:
a) A figure of the Child Jesus which was carved by a Franciscan friar in the Holy Land in 1480 and, according to legend, was painted partly by angels. The statue is venerated throughout the world. This is a replica, as the original was stolen.
b) The church is also the home of a 6th century image of Our Lady which is venerated under the title of “Salus Populi Romani”, the same title as the image of Our Lady at St. Mary Major.
c) A chapel dedicated to St. Helena (†330) in the left transept contains relics of the saint.
d) Relics of Sts. Zeno (†300), Abundius (†303), and Abundanitus (†303) are claimed by this church. The church also contains the tomb of Fra Juniper, a companion of St. Francis.

This basilica is absolutely gorgeous, and you will enjoy the many side altars. It is also sloped inside.

The staircase leading to the church has 124 steps (122 if you begin from the right), and was completed in 1348.

To the left of the church, you can see the Victor Emmanuel Monument, and to the right of the church, you can see the Cordonata, Michelangelo’s magnificent staircase, leading to the Piazza del Campidoglio. At the top of his staircase, you can see the Palazzo Nuovo, which houses the Capitoline Museums. The façade of the Palazzo Nuovo was designed by Michelangelo, but he didn’t finish it.

I highly recommend visiting this basilica and this part of Rome. It is definitely worth it, and is a very nice mix of the ecclesiastical and the classical.

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January 27, 2014 · 7:05 PM

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