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St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica, Rome

4.6
#21 of 255 in Historic Sites in Rome
Religious Site Church
A feast for the eyes just a few steps from the Pantheon, St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica features notable stained glass windows and Michelangelo’s famed statue of Christ the Redeemer. Completed in 1370, this is the city’s only surviving example of original Gothic church building. Behind a restrained Renaissance facade, the interior features arched vaulting, painted blue with gilded stars and trimmed with brilliant red ribbing in a 19th-century Neo-Gothic restoration. The site is a resting place of several popes from the Medici line, and includes the tomb of Fra Angelico, a renowned Renaissance painter. In front of the church, you can see one of the most curious monuments in the city, a statue by sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini of an elephant supporting an Egyptian obelisk. This is the shortest of the 11 obelisks still in existence in Rome. Using our custom trip planner, Rome attractions like St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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1,647 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Just below the pantheon; drop in on your way up the alleys. Less ornate than most Roman churches, interesting colours. Brilliant statue by Michelangelo - you can (sshh!) actually go up and touch; also...  more »
  • Very close to the Pantheon is the plaza Minerva is located where the Obelisk with the elephant and the Church is Santa Maria Minerva, that often go unnoticed in the way of tourists for its austere façade. In July it was also covered by reform, but we must not miss the opportunity to visit and meet with the only Gothic church in Rome and one of the most spectacular collections of Italian art. You can see paintings and sculptures of Miguel Angel, Lippi, Romano, Bernini... Only by this it is worth the visit. There are also numerous tombs and graves as that of Santa Catalina and two Medici Popes. The Church belongs to the Dominicans, and is a real journey through the history of art and of Christianity.
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  • The ship with blue as if it were the sky, the detail of the altar. The sculptures in the side altars. Many things to see.
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  • Oh! A Church! In Rome? What's this doing here? But though my head may spin in trying to relate past accounts of a positive avalanche of Roman churches, there is no problem with dear Sopra Minerva. It remains vivid and distinct in my mind and memory. For this Sopra Minerva has a host of advantages. 1. Located next door to the Pantheon, it was right in our neighborhood. We passed it countless times, and I was not averse to taking an occasional rakish shortcut right through the heart of the church itself. 2. All besotted of the Baroque does not mean that an anomalous Gothic interior doesn't offer a bit of very refreshing change. 3. There's a Michelangelo inside (front left corner of the Altar level), and while, sure, the Pieta is better, the Pieta requires two long lines, a security check at an airport level of scrutiny, and can only be viewed in a large crowd, from about 200 paces away, through a foot thickness of acrylic glass that bounces the flashes of constant photo taking into one's eyes. Meanwhile this one is nearly as good (check out the leg!), and you can get within about 3 inches of it on the least whim. 4. There's just something about that Minerva ceiling, like the first stars at the very end of dusk, that makes me go all whoozy inside, like, and I hope you'll forgive me, the prelude swamp scene sky at the start of the Disneyland ride Pirates of the Carribbean. Two peas in a pod. P.S. Never mind that the exterior is bland. Enjoy the elephant appetizer.
  • Beautiful church it worths visiting it, located no far from I'll Pantheon
  • It is an another crown in the feather of beautiful Rome.As like any other churches of city , this is also beautiful
  • Not one of my favorites among the churches of Rome but worth a look. Italy's protector, St Catherine of Siena, is buried here and there is a statue of Christ by Michelangelo
  • Very beautiful place but my girlfriend wasn't allowed in due to her shoulders being out

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Where to stay in Rome

For easy foot access to most of the city's main historical sites, consider staying in Rome's old town center. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, only a walk away from the city's main railway station. Accommodations here span all hotels sectors, from cheap hostels to luxury brand names. To avoid the steep prices and overcrowding of the town center, explore the hotels in the inner suburbs of Rome. They offer comfortable rooms and excellent food at a fraction of the price charged by the centrally located hotel chains. Another affordable option is the area around Vatican, which boasts a good selection of family-owned B&Bs.
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