Today’s post is a travel tip for anyone planning on venturing to Rome in the near and/or more distant future!
A beautiful ninth-century mosaic decorates the apse in the Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, one of three Roman basilicas whose apse program is attributed to the patronage of Pope Paschal I. The medieval style and splendor of this apse should not be overlooked, but visitors to the church do not want to miss other lesser known, slightly less accessible, medieval works in the church. Although it is no longer visible from the nave, a massive fresco scene of the Last Judgement by Pietro Cavallini was painted against the back wall, opposite the apse, in the thirteenth century. Subsequent renovations have covered up and partially destroyed the fresco, but it is still visible today and is a must-see for any tourist; but especially the Roman-medieval enthusiast.
From what is left of the monumental scene, images of Christ, the Apostles, Mary, and Seraphim Angels can be seen. To access the frescoes, simply visit the gift shop and tell the attendant you would like to see the Last Judgement by Cavillini. After paying the entrance fee, a nun from the church will take you upstairs where the frescoes can be viewed up close. Bellissimi!
After viewing these works, one may want to venture over to the Basilica di Maria in Trastevere, just a short walk from Santa Cecilia, to see a series of mosaics, also by Cavallini. The cycle, which is in the apse, directly below the conch, narrates the Life of the Virgin from the Annunciation of the Virgin through The Dormition.
Saints, Last Judgement, Pietro Cavallini, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Fresco, 1293
Seraphim Angels, Last Judgement, Pietro Cavallini, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Fresco, 1293
Virgin Mary, Last Judgement, Pietro Cavallini, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Fresco, 1293
Jesus, Last Judgement, Pietro Cavallini, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome, Fresco, 1293
Apse of Santa Cecilia, Mosaic, 817-824
View of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, Italy
The Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Pietro Cavallini, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Mosaic, Late 1290s