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S. Maria Liberatrice (Book 3) (Map B3) (Day 1) and (Day 5) (View C9) (Rione Campitelli)

In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view
New S. Maria Liberatrice
S. Teodoro

The Plate (No. 54)

S. Maria Liberatrice

S. Maria Liberatrice was built at the beginning of the XVIIIth at the foot of the Palatinus in the middle of the Forum over the ruins of a very old church S. Maria Antiqua, which had been until the IXth century one of the most important churches of Rome. The view is taken from the green dot in the small 1748 map here below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Temple of Castor and Pollux (in the XVIIIth century the columns were thought to belong to the Temple of Giove Statore); 2) Walls of Curia Ostilia and Basilica Porzia; 3) S. Teodoro; 4) Orti Farnesiani. 1) and 4) are shown in other pages.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

The church was pulled down in 1901-1902 to excavate the area and find what was left of the old church (now protected by a modern building), as you can see by the two maps below (left 1883, right 1924). On the left side part of the Temple of Vesta has been re-erected. The walls that according to Vasi were part of Curia Ostilia are now thought to be part of the Athenaeum a library built by the emperor Adrian. The fountain shown in the plate was designed in 1593 by Giacomo Della Porta who made use of a large basin found near the Arch of Septimius Severus. In 1816 the basin was put by Pius VII below the obelisk of Piazza del Quirinale, while the upper part of the fountain ended up in Giardino degli Aranci near Santa Sabina.


New S. Maria Liberatrice

S. Maria Liberatrice

A new church by the same name was erected in Testaccio in the main square of a modern quarter built in the early XXth century to accomodate the growing working class of Rome. The image on the altar of old Santa Maria Liberatrice was moved to the new church and the façade was embellished by reproducing a worn out mosaic of the old church. Its inscription explains the name of the church: Sancta Maria libera nos a poenis inferni (free us from Hell's pains).


S. Teodoro

S. Teodoro

S. Teodoro (large) and the mosaic

S. Teodoro is still visible from the Forum. The low lying circular church was built in the VIth century and the much restored mosaic of the apse is of the same period. The church was largely rebuilt in the XVth century by Nicholas V, whose coat of arms is still visible on the walls at the entrance. Clemens XI restored the church in 1702 and Carlo Fontana designed the fine circular courtyard leading to the church. The heraldic symbols of the pope can be seen in the railing on the street level.

Coats of Arms

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

S. Maria Liberatrice
Fu quivi anticamente una chiesa detta s. Salvatore in lacu forse dal lago Curzio, che ivi presso alle tre gran colonne si crede essere stato. Riedificata poi la nuova chiesa, fu dedicata alla ss. Vergine, e vi risedettero alcune Monache Benedettine, le quali essendo trasferite altrove, nell'anno 1550. Giulio III. la concedè alle Monache di Tordispecchi, le quali ne hanno cura, mantenendovi de' cappellani: e vi sono de' quadri moderni, fra' quali la ss. Vergine, e s. Francesca Romana è opera di Monsù Subleras; ed è molto ricca d'indulgenze.
Chiesa di s. Teodoro
Pochi passi a sinistra si vede l'antico tempio rotondo, mezzo sotterra, il quale in oggi è dedicato a s. Teodoro; e si crede essere stato quello eretto a Romolo, e Remo in memoria di essere stati ivi portati dalle onde del Tevere, essendo stata presso a questo trovata la lupa con i due gemelli lattanti fatta in metallo, che ora si vede in Campidoglio nel palazzo de' Conservatori.

Next plate in Book 3: Chiesa di S. Giorgio in Velabro
Next step in Day 1 itinerary: Anfiteatro Flavio o Colosseo
Next step in Day 5 itinerary: Circo Massimo
Next step in your tour of Rione Campitelli: Chiesa di S. Maria della Consolazione

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