Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

Rome, Lazio, Italy

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

About Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) is a large and impressive 16th century church constructed within the remains of the Baths of Diocletian and masterminded by renowned renaissance artist Michelangelo.

Though centuries had passed since the fall of the Roman Empire, the massive Baths of Diocletian were still standing in the 16th century. Taking advantage of the huge structural shell, the new Christian basilica was built inside the great hall and frigidarium. It was to be the last great work of Michelangelo, who began the project in 1563 but died in 1564, before its completion by Jacopo Lo Duca, a pupil of Michelangelo’s.

One notable feature of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri is the meridian line built into its floor and gaps in the ceiling used to measure the passage of the stars.

The sheer scale of the build is not only impressive in its own right, but also gives a good indication of the size of the original baths, of which this is only one part. Those looking to find a more unaltered view of the original baths should visit the nearby Aula Ottagona.

Featured In

Rome Top 10

Discover the best places to visit in Rome with an expert guide to Rome’s top tourist attractions. Includes the top ten places to visit with an interactive map and guide.

Roman Sites in Italy

Discover the top Roman ruins in Italy, from the famous Pantheon to the Aquileia Basilica and more, includes an interactive map of Ancient Roman sites to visit.

Rome Historic Sites

Discover the best historic places in Rome, from the Colosseum to the Capuchin Crypt and more, includes an interactive map of Rome's cultural landmarks, monuments and museums.