Rome Attractions

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Interior of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Visitors to the church square are greeted by the figure of an elephant designed by Bernini in 1667 and used as a base for a small Egyptian obelisk from the 6th century BC. The inscription on the pedestal says that it requires great strength to bear wisdom.

Elephant and Obelisk, Gian Lorenzo Bernini,Piazza della Minerva,Rome,Italy.

Elephant and Obelisk, Gian Lorenzo Bernini,Piazza della Minerva,Rome,Italy.

Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva was begun around 1280 in the Gothic style on the ruins of the Temple of Minerva but was not completed until 1453. Thus Santa Maria sopra Minerva is the only major Gothic church in Rome.

Interior of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.

Interior of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.

Interiors and architectural details of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church

Interiors and architectural details.

Interiors and architectural details of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church

Interiors and architectural details.

Located in the city centre, under the care of the Dominican preaching order, the church attracted the Roman people. Inside the basilica, there is a nave divided from the two aisles by arcades of columns, and side chapels decorated with paintings. The large number of tombs bear witness to the importance of this church in the religious life of the city.

Interior of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.

Interior of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, Italy.

The best-known burial chapel is that of the Caraffa family in the transept, on the end wall on the right. It is also known as the Chapel of the Annunciation of St Thomas, and contains the tomb of Cardinal Oliviero Caraffa. It is famous for frescoes by Filippino Lippi from the period around 1489. Lippi simultaneously depitted the fame of the Mother of God and Virgin Mary and that of St Thomas Aquinas, who was a Dominican.

A detail of the fresco of Filipinno Lippi in the Carafa Chapel in the important churc of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome. The frescos is of the 1488

A detail of the fresco of Filipinno Lippi in the Carafa Chapel in the important churc of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome. The frescos is of the 1488

Carafa Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Italy.

Carafa Chapel.

Filippino Lippi (1457-1504) - Assomption, fresque de Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Sainte-Marie sur la Minerve), 1489-91, Rome, Italy.

Filippino Lippi (1457-1504) – Assomption, fresque de Santa Maria sopra Minerva (Sainte-Marie sur la Minerve), 1489-91, Rome, Italy.

Triumph of Thomas Aquinas over the Heretics, Filippo Lippi, 1490, in the Carafa Chapel, Sta. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.

Triumph of Thomas Aquinas over the Heretics, Filippo Lippi, 1490, in the Carafa Chapel, Sta. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.

The remains of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) rest in the high altar. In a multitude of letters, she urged the popes to return to Rome from their exile in Avignon. To the left of the high altar is a marble statue of the resurrected Christ by Michelangelo (1521). The tomb of the exceptionally gifted church painter Fra Angelico, a member of the Dominican order, is in the side choir on the left.

St. Catherine of Siena, d. 1380.

St. Catherine of Siena, d. 1380.

Michelangelo- the statue of the Redeemer. 1521.

Michelangelo- the statue of the Redeemer. 1521.

Tomb of Fra Angelico in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

Tomb of Fra Angelico.

Tomb of Benedict XIII

Tomb of Benedict XIII

Tickets & Tours:

Colosseum to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva:

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva set in the Piazza della Minerva, 1,6 km from (20 min walk) from Colosseum. Bus Lines: 26, 87, 94.