Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Death in Rome: Santa Maria sopra Minerva

How curious to visit Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome for the second time in July and find death all around me. How could I have missed it last year? Yes, I saw the famous tombs the first time around, but this time, it seemed skulls and bones were fairly jumping off the walls. Funny how the eye can look and not see, isn't it? As I stood there and took these photos, it occurred to me that American's don't have the dance with death that Italians of the 19th century had. Not by a long shot. No ornate tombs and extroverted reminders of the grim reaper for us. What do they have? Skulls and bones carved out of marble so exquisitely that you'd think they were the real thing from a few feet away.


  1. It seems we have walked past that church not knowing which it is – it was raining heavily each time and the piazza is cobbled and slippery. The protestant in me gets a bit overwhelmed at the, to me, constant harping on death in Rome's churches and I was thoroughly depressed when in Milan I realized the duomo was positively littered with preserved bodies in glass coffins under altars.

    1. The focus on death can be overwhelming, though to me—this time around anyway—it seemed very theatrical. That may have more to do with being onstage a long time however. But then, clothes seems like costume to me now too. Go figure!

  2. Replies
    1. Very life-like these carvings. Life-size too. There are a lot more there I did not photograph. It's a fascinating place, right behind the Pantheon.


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