Thursday, May 24, 2018


Built in the years 1680/82
Expanded with the convent in 1692 by Francesco Carlo Bizzaccheri (1655/1721)
In 1874 the monastery became the property of the Italian State
It is dedicated to St. Basil who lived in Turkey between 329 and 379. He defended orthodoxy against the Arian heresy
 It is part of the Italo-Greek Catholic Church depending on the Abbey of Grottaferrata
It is a peculiar Catholic church that uses the Byzantine Rite. It is autonomous and its members are concentrated in Southern Italy and Sicily

Paintings by anonymous artists of the seventeenth century:
On the right “Death of S. Joseph” and on the left “Virgin Mary and Child with Saints” where there is the representation of S. Nile offers the model of the Abbey of Grottaferrata, still run by the Basilian Monks
“Memory of Cardinal Basilios Bessarion (1403/72)”

“He contributed to the diffusion in Italy of the study of the Greek language and especially of the Platonic philosophy, and in defense of Plato (...) he wrote (...) against Thomistic Aristotelianism. (...) He translated into Latin the Metaphysics by Aristotle. He left letters, prayers, theological essays, rich in doctrine, supported by great balance of thought. He strove with great fervor, with writings and words, with extensive and skillful diplomacy, for a crusade to win back Constantinople, fallen into the hands of the Turks in 1453. In 1463 the alliance of Venice with Pope Pius II, obtained by Bessarion, seemed to make the crusade possible, but the death of the pope (1464) brought Bessarion to move away from the Curia and to continue alone diplomatic relations in Europe. His rich library of Greek manuscripts, donated to Venice (1468), was the first and most important collection of the Biblioteca Marciana” (Enciclopedia Treccani)

Huge “Iconostasis” of the end of 1800s from the church S. Lorenzolo ai Monti destroyed for the opening of Via dei Fori Imperiali
In all the churches with Italo-Greek Catholic rite the presbytery reserved for the clergy is separated from the rest of the church with a large iconostasis or barrier of dark wood adorned with sacred images
Canvas “St. Basil” by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth-century


In the SQUARE “Marble spire with Sts. Bartholomew, Paulinus of Nola, Francis of Assisi and John of God” 1869 by Ignazio Jacometti (1819/83) for Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78) in place of a column destroyed by a cart that hit it in 1867
All the saints represented on the column have a connection with the Tiber Island
The church was built in the year 998 by Emperor Otto III (980/1002) on the ruins of the Temple of Aesculapius in honor of St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague martyred in that year
The emperor asked the city of Benevento for the body of St. Bartholomew but the people of Benevento pretended to accept and sent instead the body of St. Paulinus of Nola, wanting to keep the body of the apostle
Otto III became aware of the deception, Benevento was conquered and the body of St. Bartholomew brought by force to Rome
Because of the relics of St. Bartholomew the church changed name in 1180. It was originally known as Sts. Adalbert, Paulinus and Bartholomew

It was restored in 1113 with a new bell tower by Paschal II (1099/1118) and in about 1180 by Alexander III Bandinelli (1159/81)
It was destroyed by the flood of 1557, rebuilt in the years 1583/85 maybe by Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91)
It was completely renewed in 1623/24 by Orazio Torriani (about 1601/about 1657)
Other restorations in 1739, 1852 and 1973/76
The church is connected to a Franciscan monastery

Maybe by Orazio Torriani or Martino Longhi the Younger (1602/60) son of Onorio Longhi and grandson of Martino Longhi the Elder
Paintings by Bonaventura Loffredo from the time of Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78)
“Ancient columns” maybe from the Temple of Aesculapius
“Medieval marble well” maybe by Nicolò di Pietro Angelo or Vassalletto obtained from the drum of an ancient column with figures of the Saviour, Otto III and Sts. Adalbert and Bartholomew

Frescoes in the apse and canvas behind the altar “Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew” by the Sicilian Francesco Manno (1752/1831)
Under the altar “Old porphyry basin” with relics of St. Bartholomew who was flayed alive
Over the altar “Icon of the martyrs of the twentieth century” 2002
The church was dedicated in 2002 to the Christian martyrs of the twentieth and twenty-first century
In the six side chapels these martyrs are honored divided into four worldwide geographical areas (Africa, Spain and Mexico, Latin America and the fourth one including Asia, Oceania and the Middle East) and two chapels dedicated respectively to the martyrs killed under communist regimes and martyrs killed under the Nazi regime

At the bottom left is embedded in the wall a cannonball known as “miracle ball” shot here by the French during the siege of the Roman Republic in 1849, without causing casualties, although the church was packed
In the building next to the church is the CAPPELLA DELL'ADDOLORATA (Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrow) headquarters of the Confraternita dei Sacconi Rossi (Brotherhood of the Red Big Sacks) whose members would bury people drowned in the Tiber and people abandoned unburied who had been killed by robbers
There is still an underground cemetery and a room decorated with the skeletons of some people buried here, like the Cemetery of the Capuchin Fathers in Via Veneto

Monday, May 21, 2018


Founded in the eleventh century by the prefect Giovanni Crescenzio and his wife Rogata as written on an inscription in the church
It was made from a fornix of the Theater of Pompey perhaps testified by its ancient name in Satro corrupted form from the Latin word theatrum
It was consecrated again in 1306
At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was the national church of the English people in Rome
It was granted to the Confraternity of the Booksellers in 1601 and rebuilt in 1680 at the behest of the Florentine bookseller and printer Zenobio Masotti (1606/88)
It was restored in 1858 by Gaetano Bonoli
In 1969 it was deconsecrated and used as a warehouse
It was reopened in 1982 and restored in the years 1990/93
S. Barbara was born in Turkey to a pagan father and a Christian mother. When she decided to convert, in 306, the father reported her, and she was sentenced to death by beheading
It was her father himself who beheaded her, after a couple of days of torture. As soon as she was decapitated, lightning struck the man, killing him
S. Barbara is therefore patron saint of everything that has to do with fire and explosives

1680 by Giuseppe Passeri (1654/1714), pupil of Carlo Maratta
Restored in 1858
Statue “S. Barbara” by Ambrogio Parisi
In the vault fresco “Glory of St. Barbara” by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721) from Pistoia, a pupil of Andrea Sacchi and later influenced by Carlo Maratta

“One can consider Luigi Garzi as a not so well known artist, parallel to the action carried out by Carlo Maratta, but with interesting differences and a more prolonged participation in the eighteenth century. (...) He shows a Frenchified style, original for his time, supported in particular by Poussin and more generally by the contemporary works of transalpine cousins. The stately results of this art style, however, is tempered by his cute miniatures details, anticipating similar results already fully belonging to the eighteenth century” (Giancarlo Sestieri)

On the right triptych “Madonna and Child with Sts. John the Baptist and the Archangel Michael” 1453 signed by Leonardo da Roma
Four frescoes on the walls:
On the right “St. Teresa” and “St. Anthony of Padua”, on the left “St. Philip Neri” and “St. Francis of Assisi” 1682 by Luigi Garzi
In the vault “Four Evangelists” and “Faith, Hope, Charity and Love of God” second half of 1800s by Domenico Monacelli (active in the nineteenth century)
“Wooden cross” of the XIV century inserted, with an interesting Baroque style, in the center of the fresco “Madonna and St. John at the foot of the Cross” by Luigi Garzi
Right wall “Nine brothers presented to the Virgin Mary by the Sts. Barbara, Thomas Aquinas and John of God” seventeenth-century painting maybe by the French Claude Mellan (1598/1688)

“Apparition of Christ to S. Barbara” and oval in the vault of the presbytery “Eternal Father” by Luigi Garzi
Beautiful seventeenth-century front panel of the altar made out of rare stones
On the left “Tomb and bust of Zenobio Masotti” the patron and builder of the church
Lunette “S. Barbara decapitated by his father” by Domenico Monacelli

Altarpiece “Madonna and Sts. Peter, Paul, Jerome, Thomas and John of God” maybe by Francesco Ragusa (1591/1665)
Altarpiece “S. Saba” by G.B. Brughi (1660/1730), pupil of Baciccio