Little Treasures in the Eternal City

by Jessica on February 20, 2008

The Ectasy of St. Teresa

After a short nap to stave off the grip of jet lag, we decided to take a little walk around to keep us moving and busy. Almost any little church in Rome has some delightful piece of art tucked into its corners. We had set our sights on the Santa Maria della Vittoria. The church has a fairly unassuming fa├žade by Roman standards, but the sculpture of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa inside is worthy of a visit.

Close up of the emotional sculpture

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa is a quintessential Baroque sculpture by Bernini that depicts the moment that St. Teresa of Avila was pierced in the heart, causing immense joy and pain. The sculpture is unique in that Bernini designed the whole chapel around the sculpture, including the showcasing columns and dramatic lighting. There are even carved spectators flanking the statue, creating the illusion of watching a live production rather, than viewing a static sculpture.

Spitting Lions
Moses Statue

Our next destination was just a short walk up a steep hill. On our way, we happened to pass a fountain known as the Prospero Bresciano (Moses Fountain). The Moses sculpture itself is known infamously to have caused the death of the sculptor. The boys enjoyed the spitting lion sculptures as we continued on up the hill.
San Carlo alla Quatro Fontaine is known as San Carlino because of its small size. The church is famous for its undulating concave and convex exterior and marks the beginning of the Baroque era of architecture. We took a few pictures of the exterior and then decided to head back to our hotel for some rest.

San Carlo alla Quatro Fontaine

It was an enjoyable afternoon, seeing some of the lesser known sights of the Eternal City. Along the way, we learned a few cultural things as well. The boys were intrigued by the beggars that waited at the doors of the churches, offering to open the doors for a few coins. We were all intrigued by the apparent age of the city with sculptures and buildings of interest on every corner. The one thing we learned for sure was that Rome is a city built upon many hills. Fortunately, our walk back to the hotel was downhill.

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