Santa Maria della Pace & Raphael’s frescoes

The Church of Santa Maria della Pace stands in Rome historical centre, just a few steps far from the charming Piazza Navona. This beautiful church, that houses impressive masterpieces by great artists such as Peruzzi and Raphael, rises on the remains in advance state of decay of an earlier chapel dedicated to St. Andrew Aquaricariis. According to legend, in 1480 a drunk man threw a stone again an image of the Virgin Mary located under the porch.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9.00 am to 11.45 am
Mass Times: Sunday and Holidays: 11.00 am;
Location: Arco della Pace 5, in Pantheon & Navona Square Area
Tickets: Not Needed
Accessibility: Accessible

Origin and Meaning of Santa Maria della Pace

The Virgin Mary started bleeding. When Pope Sisto IV heard the news he personally went to see the image and promise the Virgin Mary to renew the church.

Two years later, in 1482 renovation works were completed. The Church was given a new name, Santa Maria della Pace, to commemorate the end of the war among of the Papal State, Venice and the Reign of Naples.

Features of the Church & Bramante’s Cloister

The project was carried out probably by architect Baccio Pontelli, while in 1500 Donato Bramante designed and built the adjacent Bramante Cloister or “Chiostro del Bramante” in Italian. Between 1656-1667 Pope Alexander VII commissioned renovation work to Pietro da Cortona who added the new Baroque facade.

The entrance doors are the original ones, dating back to the 15th century. At the end of the central nave, on top of the main altar, you can still see the famous image of the Virgin with the Child.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Chigi Chapel with Raphael’s Sybils

The church houses impressive masterpieces, but the most interesting is for sure the famous Chigi Chapel, the first one on the right when you enter the church.

The architecture and structure of the chapel are Raphael’s work. Indeed, Agostino Chigi, the Pope’s banker, commissioned Raphael the design of a new chapel for him and his family. The artist had already proved himself to the banker during the works carried out at the stunning Villa Farnesina in Trastevere Area.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder

Raphael also painted the the famous frescoes of the Sibyls in 1514 that shows four sibyls – Cumaean, Persian, Phrygian and Tiburtine, accompanied by attendant angels.