"Santa Maria in Aracoeli" Basilica Santa Maria in Aracoeli Tip by Frisbeeace

Basilica Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome: 20 reviews and 41 photos

  Sta. Maria in Aracoeli
by Frisbeeace

This nice church deserves a short visit while touring the Campidoglio area. According to the legend, the Emperor Augustus, had a vision of the Virgin standing on an altar and holding the baby Jesus in her arms. Then he raised an altar on the site, the Ara Coeli, or altar of the heavens.

Around 1280 Franciscans priests were installed here and built this church in the place where Greek monks had built its own in the 6th century on the site of a temple of the pagan goddess Juno.

Aracoeli's greatest treasure is a wooden statue of the child Jesus said to have been carved from an olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemene. One of the columns in the central nave has the inscription "a cubiculo Augustorum" (from the bedchamber of Augustus) and seems to have come from the Emperor's private palace.

Every Christmas Eve the Aracoeli 's 124-step ramp is lit up by candles and thronged by the Roman people in what is Rome's best-loved Christmas ritual.

Address: Piazza del Campidoglio
Phone: +39 06 6976 3839
Website: http://www.vicariatusurbis.org

Review Helpfulness: 2 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 16, 2003
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