The Santa Maria della Neve Church is located ar a short short distance from the Colosseum in Rome. The church, officially called Santa Maria della Neve al Colosseo, is normally closed to the public and can only be visited during special events.
Santa Maria della Neve al Colosseo Church Rome
Address: Via del Colosseo, 18 – Rome. Opening hours and entrance fee: The church is almost always closed.
History and description
Not much is known about the origins of this church. It is first mentioned in a 12th century document, as property of the Cardinal of the nearby San Pietro in Vincoli Church.
Other names the Santa Maria della Neve al Colosseo Church is known by are Sant’Andrea de Tabernula or Sant’Andrea de Portugallo.
In 1607, the church was given to the Università dei Rigattieri. At the time, università meant not only “university” but also “guild.” Rigattieri were junk dealers. The Università hired the famous architect Carlo Fontana to restore the church.
In 1798, after the French Revolution, the church was given to the Brotherhood of Santa Maria della Neve and obtained its current name. The brotherhood had lost its actual church (the Santa Maria dei Foglianti) during the French occupation and received the former Sant’Andrea de Portugallo in return. The church was immediately renamed.
At present it is a secondary church belonging to the Santa Maria ai Monti parish and used by the Sant’Egidio Community. This is a lay organization famous in Italy that gives help to the homeless and drug addicts.
What to see
- The altar on the right is graced with a painting representing “The Baptism of Jesus.”
- The painting at the High Altar represents the “Ascension”.
- At the altar on the left, the Saints “Francis and Chiara” are depicted.
One of the nicknames of the much more famous Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is also Santa Maria della Neve. This is because that church was built on a spot where once, in the middle of summer, snow fell. The Santa Maria della Neve Church itself is also named after this event.