The Santa Maria della Rotonda Church in the center of Albano Laziale was built on an ancient 1st century AD nymphaeum. It is possible that it had already been converted under Constantine the Great.
Santa Maria della Rotonda Church Albano Laziale
Address: Via dei Travoni, 14 – 00041 Albano Laziale. Telephone: +39 06 9323490. To visit the church it is necessary to contact the Museo Civico.
History and description
Floor mosaics depicting sea monsters indicate that the nyphaeum, before being converted into a church, may have been used as a bathhouse. This was probably for the Roman troops who were encamped in the Castra Albana.
It is certain that the building was used for liturgic celebrations as early as the 9th century. However, the official dedication was not until 1060. After earlier renovations in the 17th and 19th centuries, it was returned to its original state as best as possible in 1938.
What to see
The church altars are made of reused architectural elements from the time of Emperor Septimius Severus, who reigned from 193 to 211.
On the central altar is an ancient “Madonna and Child.”
To the right of this main altar, parts of a (probably) 14th century fresco can still be seen. This depicts the “Legend of the True Cross.”
A second fresco near the right altar is attributed to Cavallini. It depicts the “Saints Anna, Ambrose and John.”
Architectural elements from the time of Emperor Septimius Severus were also reused in the sacristy and in the bell chamber.