Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome
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The Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome are seven ancient and major churches in Rome, central to a religious pilgrimage to the city. The are listed in the following order in the guide by Franzini (1595): San Giovanni Laterano, St Peter's, San Paolo fuori le mura, Santa Maria Maggiore, San Lorenzo fuori le mura, San Sebastiano, and Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Giovanni Baglione in his book list nine major churches of Rome, adding somewhat peculiarly the church of Santa Maria Annunziata dei Gonfalone and the trio of churches known once as alle Tre Fontane, and located at the site of St Paul's martyrdom: Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, Santa Maria Scala Coeli and San Paolo alle Tre Fontane.
Rome has for centuries been a beacon for travelers. As the home of the Pope and the Catholic curia, as well as the locus of a many sites and relics of veneration related to apostles, saints and Christian martyrs; Rome had long been a destination for pilgrims. Periodically, some were propelled to travel to Rome from the spiritual benefits, including indulgences accrued through a papally sanctioned Jubilee. These indulgences required a visit to specific churches.
The churches include the four patriarchal basilicas:
- St. Peter's Basilica
- Basilica of St. John Lateran
- Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
- Santa Maria Maggiore
They also include three minor basilicas:
The last of these was added by Pope John Paul II for the Great Jubilee of 2000, replacing San Sebastiano fuori le mura. However, many pilgrims still prefer the pre-2000 seven basilicas and so also attend St. Sebastian's in addition to the ones required for the indulgence.
During Holy Years, indulgences are granted to those who visit certain churches. In Rome, there are seven such churches. This tradition is related to the work of St. Philip Neri, who devoted much of his time to helping pilgrims and introduced a list of seven basilicas.
|Classic Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome|
||San Giovanni in Laterano
||San Paolo Fuori le Mura
||Santa Maria Maggiore
||San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura
||Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
Guidebooks to Rome
Initially guidebooks to Rome focused on the religious sites. While these continued to have importance, by the 18th century, the storied history as well as its envied possession of troves of treasures of Italian art, also drew cultural pilgrims on a Grand Tour of Europe that almost always included Rome. Early proponents included Richard Lassels in his 1670 book on a Voyage to Italy. Cultural travels today fall under the concept of Tourism. Guidebooks had existed since Ancient times; for example; the periplus, or the narrative "sailing around treatise, describing ports or landing sites, and distances between them. There was a description of the Roman Empire, written in verse by Dionysius Periegetes. In addition, there were written guides describing how to visit sites in the Holy Land, as far back as the fourth century (see Itinerarium Burdigalense).
Christian Rome, however, had served also as an independent goal for pilgrims and travellers. The first such guidebooks for Medieval Rome, and among the first such guidebooks in Europe, were compiled in the 12th century to address the need of travelers to Rome. They serve to map out a city full of monumental buildings and churches, and which for centuries has been in flux, burying and uncovering, razing and either rebuilding or constructing anew. Some of the guides were written by local residents; others by transient visitors, with the latter falling into the spectrum of Travel literature rather than Guide book. There are general trends to the guides, which mirror changes in society: guides prior to the mid-18th century are intended for those on religious pilgrimage, while those afterward include guides for those with a cultural interest in antiquity and art, while maintaining a distance from focus on devotional aspects.
Finally, as the interest in the possession of Vedute of ancient monuments and cityscapes increased; both paintings and collections of engravings, for example, Vasi's and Piranesi's 18th century etchings, also added to sources of information (or recollection) of the geography of place across time. Modern guidebooks arise with nineteenth century cosmopolitan firms and publishers attentive to travelers, such as Baedeker, John Murray's Blue Guides, and Michelin Guide.
These writings now serve a role in scholarship about the history of Rome, present and past. Among the pre-modern guides or itineraries to Rome, are:
- Mirabilia Urbis Romae (1140's), Anonymous.
- Descriptio urbis Romae (ca.1433), Leon Battista Alberti
- Roma Instaurata, (written 1444 printed 1481), Flavio Biondo
- Franzini, Girolamo (1595). Le cose Maravigliose dell'alma citta de Roma. Guglielmo Facciotto, Rome.
- Gioioso, Antonio Maria (1608). Le cose Maravigliose dell'alma citta de Roma. Guglielmo Facciotto, Rome.
- Anonymous (1670). Guida Angelica Perpetua per visitar le chise , che sono dentro e fuori di Roma. il Moneta, Rome.
- Studio di Pittura scoltura et architettura nelle Chiese di Roma (1674), Abate Filippo Titi.
- Sebastiano, Pietro de' (1683). Viaggio Curioso di Roma Sagra e Profana Gentile, per contentare i Forastieri. il Moneta, Rome.
- Sebastiano, Pietro de' (1683). Viaggio Curioso de' Palazzi e ville più notabile di Roma. il Moneta, Rome.
- Antiquae Notitia or the antiquities of Rome in two parts. (1713), Basil Kennett.
- Traité Des Antiquitées de Rome, et de ce qui s'y trouve aujourdui, Volume 3 (1725) Giovanni Pietro Pinaroli.
- Le Cose maravigliose della Citta di Roma con gran studio ricercate, dove si tratta delle chiese, Sazioni, Reliquie, e Corpi Santi, (1750), Anonymous.
- Indice istorico del gran prospetto di Roma: ovvero Itinerario Istruttivo. (1765) Giuseppe Vasi.
- Nuova Descrizione di Roma Antica e Moderna e de suoi Contorni Volume 1 (1820), Carlo Fea.
- Guida metodica di Roma e suoi contorni: divisa in 4 parti (1836), Giuseppe Melchiorri.
- The Vatican: spirit and art of Christian Rome, a book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on these churches