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Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri was not a place in Rome that we wanted to visit in priority. However, it was on our way and we did not regret to have discovered it. It is indeed one of the basilicas that impressed us so much by the difference of aspect between its facade and its interior.

Read in this article the essential information about this basilica, our feedback and our pictures.

The history of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

In 162, Pope Pio IV initiated the conversion of the Baths of Diocletian into a church dedicated to the angels and martyrs. He entrusted Michelangelo with the project of transforming the main rooms (caldarium, tepidarium, frigidarium) of these ancient Roman baths.

The work was stopped after the death of Michelangelo and Pope Pio IV in 1564. They are resumed several times until the mid-eighteenth century with the architect Vanvitelli. The latter enriched the decoration, which was originally very simple in Michelangelo’s project. He also built a new facade that was destroyed in the twentieth century to highlight the Roman remains.

The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is known for its meridian, created on the floor at the beginning of the eighteenth century, which had the purpose of being able to predict the date of Easter thanks to the sun.

Nowadays, the basilica is regularly used for national celebrations.

Where is Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri?

piazza della repubblica
View on Piazza della Repubblica and the Naiads fountain in Rome

This basilica is in Piazza della Repubblica in Rome. This square is also distinguished by the presence of the Fountain of the Naiads which is in its center.

It is located near the Rome Termini train station (0.3 miles) and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (0.5 miles).

How much does it cost to go in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli?

As with all the basilicas open to the public in Rome, the entrance is free. You can, of course, leave an offering if you wish.

What are the opening hours of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli?

The basilica is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The visit is free. Please be respectful and do not make noise, especially during religious services.

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri: our experience

We saw Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri before going to see an opera performed in a nearby church.

We first admired the Piazza della Repubblica. The Naiads fountain is in the center of the square.

We then approached Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, whose entrance is very discreet. The basilica was about to close, and we hesitated to enter. We finally went in. There is no security like for other popular basilicas. So, the entrance is fast.

We were shocked (positively) to discover the interior of the church. The height of the ceiling, the size of the sculptures, the gigantic organ and the majestic construction with its marble and pink granite are extraordinary. We would never have thought that such a treasure was behind the walls of this basilica which seems less luxurious than the others.

Except for St. Peter’s Basilica, it is the prettiest we have seen in Rome.

The visit is very pleasant, there was almost no one else. We took our time to go around and take some pictures. Here are some of them.

basilica entrance
The facade of the basilica is very discreet since it is the ruins of the thermal baths.
basilica exterior
The building does not suggest that it is a church inside.
basilica interior
More luxurious than the rest, the choir of the basilica is impressive.
basilica chapel
We see a person in front of the chapel … to feel very small in such a construction!
basilica music
Everything is gigantic and imposing, starting with the organ of the Saint-Bruno chapel.
basilica paintings
Here are two of the paintings on the walls of the basilica.

The basilica is much smaller and less decorated than St. Peter’s Basilica, but it made quite an impression on us and is worth a visit.

Whether you are a religious person or not, visiting this basilica is a fantastic experience.


I love travels, photos and food. Through this blog, I like to share my experiences and travel tips.