Chiesa Santa Maria Antiqua

Chiesa Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome

Chiesa Santa Maria Antiqua
4.5
Architectural Buildings • Religious Sites • Churches & Cathedrals
About
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Plan your visit

The area
Address
Neighborhood: Campitelli
How to get there
  • Fori Imperiali-Colosseo • 5 min walk
  • Colosseo • 5 min walk

4.5
89 reviews
Excellent
69
Very good
11
Average
5
Poor
2
Terrible
2

LouiseCheffings
London, UK15 contributions
Dec 2018 • Couples
This amazing church is one of the sites available on the Super 7 supplementary ticket to the Forum. This gives access to 7 special sites within the forum and Palatine hill. Three of the 7 are available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings; two including Santa Maria Antiqua are available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. The forum ticket allows access on 2 consecutive days so you can see everything on the same ticket. It is well worth the visit. The light show allows you to see the original effect of the frescoes and explains some if the detail. See the coopculture.it website for more info
Written December 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mihaela J
Bucharest, Romania107 contributions
Jul 2016 • Friends
If you happen to visit the Roman Forum until October 2016, do not skip the temporary exhibition in Santa Maria Antiqua. The curators have made use of modern multimedia technology to bring to life VI to VIII century frescoes (overlapped many times), along with icons, mosaic decorations and ancient artifacts and sculptures.
All these on the background of Greek psalmody music, which enhaces the spirituality of the place and makes smooth the intellectual approach of the transition from ancient Rome walls towards later Christian touch.
Enchanting!
Written July 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Eli B
Sydney, Australia3,697 contributions
Jun 2016 • Couples
In a city overloaded with chiesas what makes this ancient pile so interesting? Well, for one thing, it was buried in an earthquake in the year 847. For another, it has not undergone repeated renos like its sisters and brother churches during the baroque and reformation periods. Santa maria shows us what a church looked like in the 9th- century.
The interior is stunning, from what remains its evident that every inch of this church was covered in sumptuous frescoes still eliciting the beauty of so long ago.. Along one wall, a sweeping mural depicts Christ and the fathers of the church while above colourful panels illustrate episodes from the lives of Noah and Joseph, while columns and niches feature images of A sweet faced Virgin Mary and John the Baptist.
For us, the most mesmerising views are those in the chapels to either side of the alter. To the right... medical saints who worked with the curative powers of prayer, but had traditional methods as evidenced by their surgeon's boxes they hold. On the left is the chapel dedicated to a wealthy layman who coughed up the lucre for its extravagant decorations.
The frescoes are brought to life thanks to a series of digital projections which reveal how vivid the originals would have appeared, along with an excellent narration that explains many of the significant details.
One of the most interesting things about the church is its location in the Roman Forum. Its scale is is imposing as is the ramp that allowed the emperor to descend the 7 switchbacks on horseback.
Written June 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

giorgitd
Nashville, TN212 contributions
Sep 2019
The frescoes are the attraction here. Bring a guide book or read the wiki because there is little descriptive information in the church. Know that there is an upper entrance and a lower entrance, both labeled with the large S.U.P.E.R. sign. But on the day we visited, the upper entrance was closed with no hint that there was a lower entrance. Very confusing and a waste of time waiting for an entrance that would never open. Also, there was construction that prevented illumination of the most spectacular side chapel, the one with the crucifixion. We we able to see it - just barely, from behind the rope and with no lighting. Disappointing, really.
Written September 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Pat N
Ajijic, Mexico71 contributions
Apr 2016 • Couples
This 6th century church was buried during a 9th century earthquake and only rediscovered and repaired now. It just reopened to the public, and it is stunning. It would be of great interest to those interested in religion, art, or archaeology, and the best part is, it is in the Roman Forum, so your Forum ticket covers admission. The restoration process is covered in great detail, with excellent lighting that highlights the various frescoes and architecture.
Written April 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Luigi G
20 contributions
Oct 2016
We visited this 5th century church located at the foothill of the Palatine inside the Roman Forum. The church was recently reopened after 30 years, and we could admire its restored frescoes as well as enjoy the digital rendering of its faded wall paintings (the latter was part of the exhibit "Tra Roma e Bisanzio" , which closed 10/31/16). Walking to the roof of the church gave us a spectacular view of the roman forum.
Written November 6, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jack R
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories309 contributions
Jun 2016 • Couples
Honestly, I had not heard about this church before I got to the Palatine Hill, but I am so glad I saw it. The placed evoked deep feelings knowing that this is where Christians prayed over 1500 years ago. The faded wall paintings are beautiful. They have put modern technology to great use at this place! Perfectly calibrated projectors draw the missing parts of the icons on the walls and show you how they looked when the church was built. I hope you manage to visit as I read it is only open till Oct 2016. I feel lucky as this church has been closed for restoration for 36 years!
Written July 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

luvroma2
Reading, PA2,028 contributions
May 2016 • Couples
We have been trying to visit this church, which is located in the Forum, at the foot of Palatine Hill, since the New York Times ran an article in 2012 saying it had opened to the public. From 2012 until 2016, we visited the Forum at least 6 times and this church was never open to the public. By chance, I was reading the Trenitalia Magazine on the train from Naples to Rome and there was an article (in Italian) about a church which had just recently opened. I had no idea it was the church in the Forum. We went to the tourist information office in Rome to ask where this church was and they said it was inside the Forum. They had no additional information about it such as opening hours. We went to the Forum and they assured us the church was open, so in we went.

Suffice it to say, it was worth the wait. It is a 5th century church which was heavily destroyed by an earthquake in 847 A.D. The restoration which has been done to the magnificent frescoes is incredible. The video presentation - in Italian and English explains the history of the church as well as the phases of the painstaking preservation process. The church and the video presentation are simply incredible. It is worth the price of admission to the Forum to see this church alone, however your ticket allows entry to the Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum and is good for two days. You must, however, visit the Forum and Palatine Hill in one day.

The exhibit continues until the end of October. I do not know if the church will close then as well. It seems like a lot of work and effort to be put in to a project that will only be open to the public for 8 months.
Written June 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mary N
Hobart, Australia127 contributions
May 2016 • Friends
After 36 years this stunning 6th century church has been reopened to the public. We revisited Palantine Hill again just to see this historical church and it was so worth it. Beautifully restored and the light show was spectacular. Even if you have been to the Roman forum before, go in and visit it again just to see this!
Written May 13, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ChiefGuru
Decatur, IN3,414 contributions
Jun 2019
Santa Maria Antiqua, located at the base of the Palatine Hill (one of the seven hills of Rome), is the oldest Christian monument in the Roman Forum. The church is close to the Basilica Julia, Temple of Castor and Pollux, the House of the Vestal Virgins and below the Domus Tiberiana. Santa Maria Antiqua contains an unique collection of colorful wall paintings spanning a period from the 6th - late 8th centuries. These provide a representation of the development of early medieval and Byzantine art. Interesting, Santa Maria Antiqua was abandoned in the ninth century and subsequently buried during an earthquake. The church was rediscovered, after ~1,000 years, in 1900 and restored. The multiple centuries of having been sealed off resulted in its walls being a showcase of beautiful and colorful frescoes depicting the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus, popes, saints, and martyrs. If the church is open at the time of your visit to the Forum, try to take the time to go inside. If it is not open, at least enjoy the ancient architecture and historic significance of this church.
Written September 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 20
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Chiesa Santa Maria Antiqua