Rome lights up the heart of Trastevere

New lights for Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere in Rome.

Rome's Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere, in the piazza of the same name, was newly illuminated in a ceremony attended by the city's mayor Virginia Raggi on the night of 2 July.

The new illumination system, consisting of 51 floodlights using warm led lights, was installed by the municipal energy provider ACEA in collaboration with the city.

Following a performance by the local police band, the mayor switched on the lights to applause from a piazza full of people, all of whom were wearing masks.

"After covid-19 the capital is slowly reawakening and lighting up again," said the mayor who described the illuminated church as "not only a light of hope in the dark but also a focal point of the city's artistic and cultural beauty."

The church, which Raggi described as "a beacon in the heart of Trastevere", is the latest in a series of Roman monuments to be illuminated by the city, from the Trevi Fountain to the Synagogue.

Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere

Known for its 12th-century mosaics, the 18th-century marble surfaces and the 19th-century frescoes, the Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere is one of Rome's oldest churches.

According to tradition, a christian house-church was founded on the site in the third century by Pope Callixtus I, with the building expanded in the fourth century by Pope Julius I.

Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere

Over the subsequent centuries the church underwent numerous major renovations and is most noted for its coffered gold ceiling embellished with ornate carvings and paintings.

The current structure, including the exterior mosaic, dates to the 12th century, when the building was rebuilt at the behest of Pope Innocent II, using marble capitals believed to have been taken from the Baths of Caracalla.

The church façade was restored in 1702 by architect Carlo Fontana while during the late 19th-century Rome painter Silverio Capparoni added the mural surrounding the mosaic of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus flanked by 10 women holding lamps.

The façade of the basilica underwent a year-long restoration between 2017 and 2018.

Photo Wanted in Rome