Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome

Santa Maria sopra Minerva is located in the Piazza della Minerva one block behind the Pantheon, within the ancient district known as the Campus Martius.

Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome: a close up

Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome

Santa Maria sopra Minerva derives its name from the very fact that the primary Christian church structure on the site was engineered directly over the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian deity Isis, that had been mistakenly ascribed to the goddess Minerva.

Since the VIII century there was a Basilians monastery with a small church said of S. Maria in Minervium. in 1820 it was restored in gothic style by the Dominicans Fra Sisto and Fra Ristori the architects of· S. Maria Novella of Florence.

This church by the monuments of art it contains may be considered as one of the most important in Rome. It is the richest for painting of sculptures of the XIV and XVI century. We can admire works of Bandinelli, Bigio, Lippo and Giovanni da Fiesole. In the church is the corpse of Santa Caterina da Siena. The glasses of the windows are of Bertini of Milan under designs of Riccardi. In the seventh chapel, on the left, are two nice sepulchral monuments. The wooden Crocifisso is attributed to Giotto. The statue on the left of the high altar is the famous Christ by Michelangelo (1521).

Santa Maria sopra Minerva:Cristo della Minerva

Christ is shown unclothed in an exceedingly standing pose. Christ’s sexual organs are exposed so as to indicate that his sexuality is uncorrupted by lust, in his resurrected body he shows his triumph over each sin and death. Later in the Baroque period a girdle was added. The work was commissioned in June 1514, by the Roman patrician Metello Vari, who stipulated only that the nude standing figure would have the Cross in his arms, but left the composition entirely to Michelangelo.

In this church took place the conclave for the election of Eugene VI (1431) and Nicolaus V (1447).

Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome: the walking tour itinerary

Santa Maria sopra Minerva is a stop of my “One day walking tour” in Rome. Check out the itinerary.