Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Carafa Chapel

If we were in Florence and had time to visit only one church we both agree it would be Santa Maria Novella. In Rome, presented with the same constraints we would visit Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. This church was build on the site of an ancient Roman temple dedicated the goddess Minerva, sopra means above.
Here James stands at the entrance to the Carafa Chapel viewing the the frescos by Filippino Lippi, a true masterpiece.

If you want to see the true glory of this fresco be sure to have 50 euro coins with you to put in the light box to illuminate the chapel frescos.
This fresco is a "show stopper!"

The ceiling of the Carafa Chapel, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, painted by Lippi

The church is the only gothic church in Rome, with several important Renaissance works. Standing next to the main alter is a sculpture by Michelangelo, unlike the crowds in Florence waiting in lines to see the David, here it is quite different, with few people around. Our question is "who added that piece of gold cloth cover up ?)
Fra Angelico , famous for his frescos in Florence at San Marco,is entombed here, not far from the Michelangelo sculpture.

Detail of the Filippino Lippi fresco

Tomb designed by Bernini
Just beyond the simple tomb of Fra Angelico is a bombastic Baroque tomb designed by Bernini in 1653 for Sister Maria Raggi. Here is an example of the exuberance of the Baroque, emotional and bursting out into space.

To find Santa Maria Sopra Minerva all one has to do is find Bernini's elephant that stands beneath the Egyptian obelisk, just outside the doors of the church. The building in the background with the dome is the Pantheon.

The interior of the Pantheon looking towards the tomb of Raphael. An incredible building, an incredible space.

We leave the Pantheon and walk across the Piazza della Rotonda to do some food shopping. We are cooking in for dinner and stop into the salumeria to buy a few ingredients. On our menu tonight is Bucatini all'Amatriciana, a dish we have come to love. In this shop we purchase some guanciale (pork cheek, rather like pancetta) a little pecorino and a bottle of wine.

There is also a little time for mugging for the camera with some mortadella!
This has been a terrific morning. On a 1-10 scale it is right up there filled with great art, good food and just walking through the streets of Rome. Now we will head back for lunch at the Academy, then to our apartment to spend the afternoon drawing before attending an artist's open studio. We will complete the day preparing dinner and have a glass or two of wine while enjoying the bucatini.

No comments: