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  St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica  
(Città Metropolitana di Roma, Lazio)
Italy > Roma > Rome > St Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica

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"A Must Visit "

This rare Gothic church in Rome is very unassuming from the outside. The interior is however quite awe-inspiring with wonderful paintings against the walls and the roof. It is situated behind the Pantheon and amongst many government buildings. Highly recommended!

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Santa Maria sopra Minerva

Santa Maria sopra Minerva is one of the major churches of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers in Rome, Italy. The church's name derives from the fact that the first Christian church structure on the site was built directly over the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which had been erroneously ascribed to the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva.

The church is located in Piazza della Minerva one block behind the Pantheon in the Pigna rione of Rome within the ancient district known as the Campus Martius. The present church and disposition of surrounding structures is visible in a detail from the Nolli Map of 1748.

While many other medieval churches in Rome have been given Baroque makeovers that cover Gothic structures, the Minerva is the only extant example of original Gothic church building in Rome. Behind a restrained Renaissance style façade the Gothic interior features arched vaulting that was painted blue with gilded stars and trimmed with brilliant red ribbing in a 19th-century Neo-Gothic restoration.

The church and adjoining convent served at various times throughout its history as the Dominican Order's headquarters. Today the headquarters have been re-established in their original location at the Roman convent of Santa Sabina. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Sanctae Mariae supra Minervam has been Cormac Murphy-O'Connor since 2001, when he was Archbishop of Westminster, the senior position in the English Catholic church, from which he has since retired.


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