Monday, June 6, 2016

The Roman Forum

A few years ago it was decided that the First Sunday of each month would be "free museum day" here in Italy - so I took full advantage of that and yesterday, went to visit the Roman Forum.  There were several reasons I wanted to visit today.

  1. Well, it's the Roman Forum for goodness sake!
  2. It was FREE!
  3. There is a "new" church that was just opened up and I wanted to see it.
Actually it is not a "new" church but a very OLD church - which was only discovered in the last century and has only this spring been opened for the first time to the public.  The name of the church is "Santa Maria Antiqua."  I could go on with descriptions - but if you want to learn about the church in detail, you can click one of the following links for Wikipedia or here for the official website

It was really an amazing visit.  I had heard about the church - but was VERY glad I went.  The short story is: the church was built in the 6th century and contains the oldest image of Mary as Queen.  The church was partly buried in an earthquake in 847 - and further damaged in the sack of Rome in 1084. Basically it was buried under rubble - on top of which another church was built.  That church was demolished in the early 1900's - and this church re-discovered.  And what a find!

The museum people did an AWESOME job.  You walk into the church and admire the space and the remnants of paintings.  You see a video of how things used to look and the functional use of the space.  But as you walk up toward the side chapels on either side of the apse, as you are admiring the ancient frescos, the lights suddenly dim.  I wondered what was happening... when a laser light show began which superimposed on the walls what the original images would have looked like.  It explained how the identified the saints in the frescos.  It explained the changes to the church over the centuries.  It was FASCINATING!

Here are photos - first of Santa Maria Antiqua - then of the Roman Forum area.


Then I was off to the Roman Forum...

Couldn't help it... and with a real phone - not a smart phone...


  1. How awesome!!! The "new" church is the image of Mary. Wish we were able to join the pilgrimage...I'm buried in grading papers. Hope to see you in the spring....want to go to the church!
    As always, you are in our prayers!

  2. So glad you had a great time at the forum. Looks like the weather was beautiful. What amazing photos!