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PARADOXPLACE CHURCHES OF ROME     ESQUILINE HILL CHURCHES

 

SANTA BIBIANA

Bernini's first church commission

 

Closed between 10.30 and 5

 

 

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Santa Bibiana is a tiny little church nowadays marooned between the main railway tracks converging on Santa Maria Maggiore railway terminus and two sets of tram tracks.  It was originally built in the 400s, but what is there now is the result of Bernini's first architectural commission in Rome in 1625, including a statue representing Santa Bibiana (Vivian), an early Christian martyr.   

 

A beautiful little space with columns taken from assorted local pre-Christian temples.

 

The church is only open from early to 10.30am, then 5 to 8pm - facts not known to Paradox DOCG when he arrived at 3.30 and, seeing no hours of entry notice, sat on the gate step looking forlorn - a strategy which requires patience but usually yields results.  Eventually the priest appeared on his way out and took pity on the storico (historian) slumped at his gate and let him in for a quick sneaky beak.  Interestingly he (an Italian) had studied for his doctorate in Washington DC when Harry Truman was president of the USA.

 

 

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