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Rome reopens to the public a "Sistine Chapel" of the Middle Ages

2016-05-01

Santa Maria Antigua reopens its doors to the public after more than 30 years of restoration work. It was located in what would be the Manhattan of today, more than 1000 years ago in the Roman Forum.

The earthquake that buried it in 847 kept its interior intact until its discovery in 1900 by archaeologist, Giacomo Boni.

GIULIA BORDI
Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua
"A church, that was a kind of fossil of its time, since it had not suffered any kind of transformation that churches often go through over time, has been found. After the discovery, it has been given this name: the Sistine Chapel of the Middle Ages, because it retains a repertoire of paintings that is not found anywhere else.”

The basilica is from the sixth century. The paintings reflect early Christian faith, but are well established in the heart of Western culture. They commemorate the fathers of the church and the saints of the first six centuries- especially the Virgin Mary.

"It's all so big. One cannot imagine how it must have been. "

"The lighting effects used bring the paintings back to life.”

One of the things that tourists have like most is how the new technologies recreate the paintings that time has erased. It is a way to help imagine how one of Rome's most popular churches of the Late Middle Ages was


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