The church of Santa Maria dell’Orto in Rome once again open to the public after 50 years

1. Jacopo Vignola, dit Vignole (1507-1573)
and Francesco da Volterra (c. 1535-1594)
Facade of Santa Maria dell’Orto
Photo : Didier Rykner

28/8/09 – Heritage – Rome, Santa Maria dell’Orto – There is nothing more frustrating for visitors than finding a church closed. In Trastevere, Rome, between San Francesco a Ripa and Santa Cecilia, the church of Santa Maria dell’Orto had not opened its doors since the late 50’s, with minimal access on Sundays for mass. The only chance for a look was to be there at the right time and day.

Since last October, the building is now open every day, morning and afternoon, after recovering its original Baroque splendor due to a restoration of the upper part of the choir and nave. Erected in the 16th century with a façade by Vignole (the upper section was completed by Francesco da Volterra) (ill. 1), the decoration of the choir, the transept and the nave was carried out in the 18th century with remarkable sculpted décors while Giacinto Calandrucci painted the frescoes, in the centre of the vaulted ceiling, of the Assumption of the Virgin (ill. 3)in 1707, the same year he died.
There are many frescoes and paintings of the late 16th century in the church, notably by Taddeo and Federico Zuccari (first chapel on the right and the choir) and by Giovanni Baglione, among several average works, a very beautiful Saint Sebastian tended by angels (first chapel on the left). Of the 18th century canvases, there is especially a Baptism of Christ by Corrado Giaquinto.

2. Santa Maria dell’Orto
Nave and choir
Photo : Didier Rykner

3. Giacinto Calandrucci (1646-1707)
The Assumption of the Virgin, 1707
Vault of the nave of Santa Maria dell’Orto, Rome
Photo : Didier Rykner

Several very important Roman churches, which had remained closed for some time, have opened again such as Saint Nicolas des Lorrains or Santa Maria della Pace, both not far from the Piazza Navona. We would be happy to also see this happen for other buildings, such as, for example, S.S. Luca e Martina near the Forum, by Pierre de Cortone, which is almost impossible to visit.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 6 septembre 2009

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