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Santa Maria in Trastevere

Santa Maria in Trastevere (76)

Santa Maria in Trastevere was built between 1138 and 1148 with materials from the Caracalla baths. It is also said that it was the first Christian church in Rome and the first place of worship dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The truly important aspects of this basilica are its mosaics, both on the façade and inside. The ones on the façade date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, and in them you can see the Virgin nursing the Infant on the throne, flanked by ten women with lanterns. Notice that eight of these lanterns are lit, symbol of virginity, and the other two are unlit, probably to show that these two women are widows.

If you go inside the basilica you will be able to see even more spectacular mosaics. Those on the cupola of the apse date back to the 12th century and represent the coronation of the Virgin, who is seated on the throne with Jesus by her side, with his arm around her. You will see that the figure of the Virgin is the same size as that of Christ. 

In the lower part you will see an impressive mosaic by Pietro Cavallini called Episodes of the life of the Virgin, which show six incredibly realistic scenes about the life of Mary. 

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