If you’ve ever visited Rome, you probably would have noticed that there are lots of churches to look at. They are free to go into and are an excellent way to absorb culture in the form of art and architecture. Every single one is uniquely stunning – the opulence and reverence within is truly breathtaking.
Seeing lots of churches in a short amount of time leads to a very real phenomenon I like to call ‘Church Fatigue’. Similar to museum fatigue, it’s a feeling of overwhelming your senses with so much information that you find it difficult to process what you see and feel. It’s like over-saturation. At the same time, you don’t want to not go in and look at the next church for fear-of-missing-out (millenialls, I see those nods of agreement). What if the next church you stepped into was the most beautiful one yet? Or the one that made you feel connected in a distinctively spiritual way? Or the one that enables the epiphany of discovering your life’s purpose? Okay, maybe I went a bit far with that, but you get the idea.
According to tourism website italyswonders.com Rome has more churches than any other city in the world…
with more than 900 public churches across the city!
This figure is only an estimate. People say there could in fact be many more. Vatican City (a separate country within the city of Rome) is not counted in the figure. That number also doesn’t take into account private and smaller places of worship such as chapels, convents, palaces and monasteries.
The best part about Rome’s churches is that a lot of them sit unassumingly in the bustling urban setting with not much on the outside of the building to tell you that it’s a church. The beauty lies within. With the familiar cool air insulated by solid stone it’s very easy to spend quite some time absorbing the beauty of the space. Your neck will get sore from looking up at ceiling murals but the experience is definitely worth it.
Rome is one of my favourite cities, and I have been lucky enough to visit the Eternal City twice now. I feel like I could never tire of the magical charm this city exudes. If you ever travel to Rome, be sure to take a peek into some of the churches. Regardless of your religious background/affiliations it will enrich your holiday experience and you’ll feel definitely like a cultured traveller.
Please enjoy these pictures of Chiesa del Gesù in Rome. Of all the churches I saw in Rome, this was my favourite. The commanding Baroque façade stands proudly and unaffected surrounded by busy streets with cars and pedestrians zooming past. Stepping inside is a welcome oasis away from crazy Rome and its deafening noises. As soon as you walk through the door, you are in the main nave of the church. There are no foyers, entrance halls or waiting areas – you are welcomed straight into the spectacular central nave. Lining the sides along the length of the space is a series of interconnected chapels, each equally respectful and unique. There is a magnificent glittering jewel-covered devotion to St Ignatius on the left hand side of the building. It left me utterly amazed. The site of the church today is the historical location of a former church, Santa Maria della Strada, where St Ignatius is said to have prayed to an apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary. The church has been in use since 25 November 1584 (after sixteen and a half years of construction), when it was consecrated by Cardinal Giulio Antonio Santori.
Image credit: Print On Print