Rome, Italy

Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome, Italy

It was quite unusual for Michaelangelo to make use of existing structures when designing churches. His usual method - typical of the Rennaisance - was to knock down the old building and put up a big shiny new one.

However, for Santa Maria degli Angeli upon which he started work in 1563, he took part of the Baths of Diocletian which date to 298-306 AD and inserted his church into the ruins. Sadly this church was almost completely demolished (certainly on the inside) when a further rebuild was undertaken by Luigi Vanvitelli in the 18th Century. Obviously Vanvitelli didn't have Michaelangelo's eye for a building that should be left alone.

This is another of those forgotten corners of Rome, at the summit of the Quirnal Hill, halfway between the Spanish Steps, the Vittoriano and Termini Station it is an area people hurry past, although they might find their eye taken by the magnificent and (at the time of its construction controversially risqué) Fountain of the Naiads built by Rutelli in 1901 which stands directly outside the Church.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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