The Churches of Rome

Published Date Author: , August 18th, 2014

Vatican - Dolly GoollsbyWhat a day we had! It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we wanted to start our Sunday in the right way, so we went to Mass at a church just 2 blocks away from our apartment. We made it in time for the 9:30 Mass. This church is called Sant’Andrea della Fratte. We chose it because it was the closest one, but OMG! What a magnificent church. Mass was held in a chapel near the front of the church, but we could see that the church was huge. We were in just a small little area.

After the Mass was over, we wandered through the rest of the church. To my amazement, there were two Bernini sculptures near the main altar. Bernini is my most favorite sculpture of all the Italian sculptors. Of course, his works are in many churches in Italy, but this was such a surprise. Bernini had a way of making the marble seem to be alive. Up close, these angels were so lifelike.

The church also has a lovely garden area, a school of music, plus what looks like living quarters for priests This church was built in the 17th century A.D and it is so beautiful.

After that visit, we continued on our way to the Pantheon, as believe it or not, Susan had never seen the inside of the Pantheon. Well, we got there, we could see inside, but there was a Holy Mass going on, so we could not go inside. In the meantime, there was another small church on our way, so we had to stick our heads into that one, as well. I did not get the name, and it was small, not too impressive, so we didn’t stay long.

From the Pantheon, it is just a short distance to Castel Sant’Angelo. But as we were walking toward the bridge that would take us across the River Tiber, Susan spotted another church. Would it be OK just to take a quick look? Of course.

This church, San Luigi dei Francesi, or Church of Saint Louis of the French, is right near Piazza Navona, in the French Quarter. I never knew there was a French Quarter in Rome, but it has been there since 1478. The church was very impressive. Lots of gold, marble, and paintings by Carvaggio, who painted scenes from the life of St Matthew. Carvaggio’s paintings are always a bit too dark for me, as I really think the man was insane, but what do I know. Anyway, the church was built in the years between 1550 and 1568, finished with the help of Catherine di Medici.

Finally, we made it across the river to the Castel Sant’Angelo. Now this is not a church, but it was built by the Emperor Hadrian in the year A.D. 139, to be used as his tomb. It was used as a fortress in the Dark Ages, and was the burial site for emperors for over 100 years. It was also used as a refuge for popes, because of its close proximity to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. I had been there before, and the trek through the Castel involves a lot of climbing stairs and such, so I opted out, but Susan did see it. It is really worth a visit but once was enough for me. I walked around taking pictures while she was inside the Castel, then we met up and went for lunch.

Back we went to the Pantheon. This time we got to go inside, but it was so crowded, I hope we get to go back again, and really see it. This is the oldest building in Rome that has continually been in use. It was built over 2,000 years ago. Can you imagine that?

By now, I was getting tired. We decided to stop at a grocery and get some things to make dinner in our apartment. So, with both Susan’s and my backpack loaded with groceries, we headed for our Roman home.. Ahhhh…but along the way, there was yet another church…do you mind if we just take a peek?

Now this was a real treat….really. Because as soon as we stepped inside, we heard someone playing the grand pipe organ. That was worth the sitting down time. The music was so lovely, and soothing. We were in Sant’Ignazio di Loyal church. This church was built between 1626 and 1650. Besides the grand music, the chapels were so impressive.

Eventually, the organist stopped playing, so we left the church. I do believe we had seen more churches than most people see in one day…oh, I forgot….we also went to Sant’Agnese church in Piazza Navona, but that was a very quick visit to a very non-impressive church. Six churches on this one Sunday. Finally, we got home again at 6:00 p.m. Tired but happy. Fortunately, the butter in my backpack had only softened a bit, and had not melted.

I do believe I was most impressed with how many extremely lovely, very old churches we saw in a very small geographic area. We saw all of these in the area between the Spanish Steps and Castel Sant’Angelo, not even as far south as Piazza Venezia.

To those of you who are falling asleep reading all this historical information, I know how you feel. I was never interested in history very much until I started traveling. History takes on a whole new feel to me when I can stand in a place where Martin Luther stood, while awaiting his trial for heresy. How about walking in the same places as Hadrian as he surveyed his domain, and decided where he would build his tomb? Since graves were not allowed in the city, he had to go across the river.

All in all, it was a very lovely day. We were tired, but I learned so much. I never knew how much I would learn, how many churches I would see until I started traveling with this devout Catholic lady. Thank you, Susan, for furthering my education.

Now I must close. Tomorrow we go to Napoli, just for a day trip. That should be interesting.

I have always avoided Napoli, but we have a reason to go there, and I should not be too narrow minded. I will keep my mind open to new adventures, and of course, wear my money belt and keep a sharp eye out! Be assured, you will hear about this trip.

Ciao for now,


By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Rome Gay Travel Resources

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The Churches of Rome - Gravatar The Churches of Rome said on August 18, 2014, 12:03 pm:

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