Saturday, July 23, 2011

11. Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

Today's photos:
1. The front cover of The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
2. A close-up of the center of the thirteenth-century mosaic on the façade of the basilica.
3. The fountain in front of the basilica is a favorite lounging place for locals and tourists alike.
4. A view down the center aisle towards the sanctuary.
5. The cosmatesque floor of the center aisle.
6. The baptismal font in one of the side chapels.




Today's post is the announcement of the publication of my latest book, the title and subtitle of which are:


The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

A blend of history, art and faith


The book is 96 pages long from cover to cover with a total of 109 photographs and historic prints.  It was printed and is being distributed in Rome, so, unfortunately, it is not immediately available in the U.S.A., either in bookstores or on the Internet.  I do intend to make some copies available in the States in the near future.  In the meantime, for those of you in Rome, the book can be found at the following outlets in the Trastevere neighborhood:


The gift shop located inside the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.


The Almost Corner Bookshop

Via del Moro, 45

tel: 06 58 36 942  or  06 45 436 865


The Open Door Bookshop

Via della Lungaretta, 23

tel: 06 58 96 478


The cost of the book in Euros is €12.  The cost in the States will be determined by the exchange rate at the time it becomes available.  Following is the Introduction from the book.









A few years ago, while dining in a restaurant in the Trastevere neighborhood with a group of friends, I was asked by one of them: "Which church in Rome is your favorite?"  This would ordinarily be a difficult question to answer because there are over two-hundred churches just in the historic center of the City.  My answer to the question, however, was immediate and unequivocal:  "The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere."  This has long been my favorite church in Rome because of its rich history and its beautiful and inspirational art.  My choice was reinforced in the year 2005 when I moved into this unique Roman neighborhood and was able to call the basilica "my parish church".  So when I decided to produce a guidebook concentrating on one church, there was no question about what my choice would be . . . a "no brainer", as the saying goes.


As far as I know, this is the only guidebook of the basilica written and published specifically with  English speakers in mind.  It is arranged in such a way that it will guide you step by step through the various sections of the basilica.  Along the way you will admire  beautiful and historic works of art such as twelfth and thirteenth-century mosaics and a sixth-century painting of the Virgin and Child, one of the oldest in existence.  Several of the many Latin inscriptions are translated, helping the visitor to better understand and appreciate the art and the history.


The book includes many fascinating curiosities about the basilica, its contents and several of the people who have been associated with it over the centuries.  What connection is there between this Christian basilica and the pagan Baths of Caracalla?  What is the mystery about the thirteenth-century mosaic on the façade of the basilica?  Why did Pope Innocent II have such a troubled papacy?  What connection is there between the she-wolf of ancient Rome and the fountain in front of the church?  Why is Moses almost always depicted with horns on his head?  What sixteenth-century cardinal's son, executed at age twenty, has a funeral monument here?  These are just a few of the fascinating curiosities and little-known facts which await you in this book. 


The ideal situation is to be in the basilica with this book in hand, but even someone who has never seen the church can enjoy a virtual visit with the help of the many accompanying photographs.  Captions are included with the photos unless the text makes clear their content.  The photos are by the author unless otherwise indicated.  So whether your visit to this remarkable basilica will be real or virtual, it is my hope that this book will make that visit a truly meaningful one.


Vincent Drago


Rome: July, 2011


cnalty said...

Congrats on the book, Vincent!! Santa Maria in Trastevere is definitely in my top 5 Roman churches, and would be #1 if it was my parish church. Right now, my #1 church in the world is St. Stephen on Napoleon Avenue.

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