The Santa Rosa Church is one of the most important churches in Viterbo, as the local saint, Santa Rosa, is buried there. The church is also called the Santa Maria delle Rose Church. The house where the saint was born is located near the church.
Santa Rosa Church Viterbo
History and description
The Santa Maria delle Rose Church is part of the Monastery of San Damiano.
It was the seat in Viterbo of the Monastic Order of the Clares.
Originally the church was a lot smaller, but the original version from 1235 was demolished in the 14th century and then rebuilt.
In 1632 the church underwent a thorough facelift and in 1850 another renovation took place.
The dome is an addition from 1913. Originally it was covered with majolica’s, but these were later replaced by lead. The architect was Arnaldo Foschini.
The church has three naves. Most of the works of art on display are from the late 19th and early 20th century.
Tomb of Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa herself is buried inside the church, in a display case of metal and glass.
At one point, she had requested to join this monastery, which had been refused. Eventually, after her death, Santa Rosa would enter the convent after all. Having initially been buried in the earth without a coffin, she was later taken to the church belonging to the convent. This originally small church would later be demolished to make way for the current church.
During the renovation of 1632 a number of 15th century frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli were destroyed. However, the 17th century painter Francesco Sabatini had first made copies that can now be seen in the Museo Civico.
On the first altar of the right nave you can see a 17th century wooden crucifix.
The poliptych depicting the “Madonna and Child on the Throne between Saints Rosa and Katarina of Alexandria” was painted by Francesco d’Antonio da Viterbo.
Casa di Santa Rosa
The House of Santa Rosa is located in a street formerly called Via della Ficunaccia, but later renamed Via Casa di Santa Rosa. It is a small house with an external staircase. There are hardly any decorations, as the saint was of simple lineage and belonged to the poorer part of the population.