Sunday, August 19, 2007

Santa Maria della Vittoria

Our latest excursion into Rome took us around the area by Piazza Republica to visit the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. Right outside the church is this fountain, named the Fountain of Moses. Built in 1588 it's got a huge statue of a very stern Moses in the center.

This is the inside of the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. This small yet magnificently Baroque church was begun in 1605.

The most famous sculpture in the church is Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa. The statues depict a moment described by Saint Teresa of Avila in her autobiography, where she had the vivid vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden shaft, causing her both immense joy and pain. Today it's possible to view St. Teresa's heart, which contains a deep gash in it.

A detail of the sculpture, considered one of the most realistic and beautiful pieces in the world.

This is a shot of the high altar, taken as we walked backed into the Sacristy.

In the sacristy are various banners and other artifacts commemorating Catholic victories, in keeping with the title of the church "Holy Mary of the Victory". This particular one is the standard of the Holy Roman Emperor, so it wasn't captured :).

A close-up of the imperial double-headed eagle.

THIS one however is a captured Turkish banner from the battle of Vienna in 1529. It's faint, but you can make out the Islamic crescent, and the hand of Allah giving a sword to Islam.

Here's a painting depicting a battle during the Thirty Years War. It is one of a series which military historians still use to study battle formations and tactics during the time.


Aggie said...

Beautiful church and the statue of the angel and St Theresa is gorgeous. I didn't know that tidbit about her heart showing the arrow's gash. Thanks for always fascinating commentary.

anna said...

Dear Anthony,
I wanted to say hello to you, and lost your address, and when I was looking for some info - saw this blog. We are the group you spied in the Paris airport from California - we meant to get in touch with your sons, but with that many students, and the days were so packed - and it was our first week - well you can guess the rest. Please accept our apologies! My e-mail address is
By the way, I was trying to find both the image and the name of the miraculous painting in the chapel above the Spanish Steps. I thought it was Our Lady fo Good Counsel. She has a knittiing or sewing basket at her feet and is so lovely.
Thank you,

Stephen Valentine said...

This church, I stumbled across with my friend and I. She had previously been feeling ill, and I stayed with her as she took refuge from the hot June day we visited Rome...then we walked around, through the government buildings like the Department of Agriculture until we stumbled across this GORGEOUS church. I will never forget it.