Chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte, Rome

2.9
#307 of 527 in Historic Sites in Rome
Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte is a church in central Rome, Italy. It lies on Via Giulia between the Tiber and the Palazzo Farnese.First built in 1575, the church was completely rebuilt by Ferdinando Fuga in 1733 using an elliptical plan.Inside may be seen frescoes of St. Anthony Abbot and St. Paul of Thebes by Giovanni Lanfranco; these were removed and transferred to this church from a now-lost structure built by Odoardo Farnese. In the first chapel at the right is a Mystical marriage of Saint Catherine; in the main chapel is a Crucifixion altarpiece by Ciro Ferri. In the second chapel to the left is St. Giuliana Falconieri Receives the Habit From St. Filippo Benizi by Pier Leone Ghezzi. In the first chapel to the left features an altarpiece of the Rest on the Flight to Egypt painted by Lorenzo Masucci.Additionally, the church houses a chamber decorated with human bones; a large number of skulls, candelabras constructed of bones, and a large cross adorned with skulls are among the room's adornments. This chamber is located through a door to the left of the main altar and is rarely open to visitors.Santa Maria was built by a confraternity that assumed responsibility for interring abandoned corpses in Rome. It is remarkable for the depictions of laureled skulls over the façade entrance and other death imagery. In this it has some of the morbid encrustations also seen in the Roman church of the Capuchins. Its charity was, and still is, supported by the Arciconfraternita di Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte, a purgatorial society dating to the 1560s. Burials were performed in their cemetery, once sited on the banks of the Tiber adjacent to the church. Architect Fuga and San Carlo Borromeo were members of the fraternity.
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Chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte Reviews
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  • When we visited in April, the church was still closed for restoration. The exterior of the church is unlike any I have seen with carved images of skulls and winged skeletons adorning plaques on the fr...  more »
  • There are not massive statues. There are not dozens of paintings by top artists. There is not gold paint on everything. That may explain why there are not tourists here. Make it a point to visit. It’s...  more »
  • A place that encompasses in itself the very sense of beauty, a unique place that is somewhat obscured by the other Roman beauties
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