The Basilica di Santa Prassede all’Esquillin (commonly known in Italian as Santa Prassede) was my favourite church in Rome. Trust me, it’s hard to pick just one out of all the churches in the city, since every second building seems to be a church, basilica, or cathedral. Some of the churches are insanely opulent while others are quite modest. They come in all shapes and sizes. This one in particular is at the top of my list because of all the wonderful mosaics and frescoes that adorn the walls and ceiling of the church. The facade of Santa Prassede is so nondescript that it would be easy to pass it by. It could be just about any building in Rome, as the main entrance is nothing more than a typical arched doorway. Since the church was built from 780 – 822 AD, it was not constructed in the Gothic style as so many of the later churches and cathedrals were. No flying buttresses, spires, or skinny arched stained glass windows for this church. Just some of the most stunning paintings and artwork you will ever see.
Under the mosaic on the dome of Jesus; flanked by Peter, Paul, John, George, and Ringo (ok, ok, maybe not Ringo); there is an inscription in Latin.
EMICAT AULA PIAE VARIIS DEOCRATA METALLIS
PRAXEDIS D(OMI)NO SUPER AETHRA PLACENTIS HONORE
PONTIFICIS SUMMI STUDIO PASCHALIS ALUMNI
SEDIS APOSTOLICAE PASSIM QUI CORPORA CONDENS
PLURIMA S(AN)C(T)ORUM SUBTER HAEC MOENIA PONIT
FRETUS UT HIS LIMEN MEREATUR ADIRE POLORUM
For those very few people who aren’t fluent in Latin
Here is the translation:
“The hall beams are decorated with various (precious) metals, in honour of the saintly Praxedes who has found pleasure with the Lord in heaven above, through the zeal of the Supreme Pontiff Paschal, raised to the Apostolic See, who collected the bodies of numerous saints and laid them beneath these walls, trusting that by his service he has merited as place in your house.”
If you are planning a trip to Rome, I urge you to take some time to visit this special place that inspired the epic poem “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed’s Church” by Robert Browning.
Both of today’s photos are now available as limited edition prints on canvas or brushed aluminum.
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