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Rome: Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

About the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva:

This Basilica got its name from the original pagan temple built here (in Italian, a sopra) and is run under the auspices of the Dominicans.

Tomb of St. Catherine of Siena in Rome
Tomb of St. Catherine of Siena

Perhaps most notable here is the tomb of Saint Catherine of Siena (herself a Third Order Dominican and a Doctor of the Church)  Her tomb is quite accessible and you go right up and touch it.

Note that although most of her body is in the tomb, her head is actually kept in The Church of Saint Dominic in Siena.

Frescoes in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi
The Carafa Chapel





Also entombed here is Fra Giovanni da Fiesole…better known as Fra Angelico. Fra Angelico, a Dominican, lived and worked for several years in the Dominican convent of Fiesole, near Florence, and was one of the foremost early Renaissance artists.

Some of his works are the The Niccoline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. The chapel is located in the Tower of Innocent III, in the most ancient part of the Apostolic Palace. The walls were decorated by Fra Angelico with images of two of the earliest Christian martyrs; the upper level has Episodes from the Life of St. Stephen, and the lower one Scenes from the life of St. Laurence. The vault is painted blue, decorated with stars, and features figures of the Four Evangelists in the corners. The pilasters are decorated with the eight Doctors of the Church.

Fra Angelico was proclaimed “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 1982, and his Liturgical Feast Day is February 18.

Michelangelo's statue Christ the Redeemer
Michelangelo’s statue Christ the Redeemer


There several important works of art here, including Michelangelo’s statue Cristo della Minerva (Christ the Redeemer or Christ Carrying the Cross), located to the left of the main altar and the late 15th-century frescoes in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi.

Finding the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva:

Address:  Piazza della Minerva 42 – 00186 Rome

Tel:  +36 06 6992038

email: santamariasopraminerva@gmail.com

Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Saint Maria sopra Minerva

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Photos courtesy Wikimedia  & Basilica of Santa Maris sopra Minerva

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