Friday, October 06, 2006

San Bartolomeo all'Isola, Rome

San Bartolomeo all'Isola, Rome

This image from San Bartolomeo all’Isola is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from aroundRome linked to an interactive map.

Tucked away on the Isola Tiberina, the small island in the Tiber in Rome, is the church of San Bartolomeo. The outside of the church is fairly plain and belies the beauty and depth of the interior, which is covered with expressive frescos. The church was built in 10C by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III and originally dedicated to his friend Adalbert of Prague. However, once the possible remains of St. Bartholomew were interred here, the dedication and name of the church changed.

Like all places in Rome, church sites were often pre-occupied. This was originally the site of the Temple of Aesculapius, a Greek god of healing. The history here is that during a plague in Rome ambassadors went to the sanctuary of Asklepios in Greece and returned with a sacred serpent which escaped onto the island. Considering this pretentious, the Romans built the temple here and the island has been associated with healing ever since. The hospital of the Fatenefratelli is situated on the north end of the Island.

The image here shows the altar, which is actually a porphyry bathtub - one of the greatest status symbols an ancient Roman could hope to own. The relics of San Bartolomeo are buried beneath it. In front of the bath is the covered medieval well that may have been the source of the sacred spring used in the hospital. The chapel off to the right contains a fresco of Mary which dates back to the founding of the church. The full panoramic image shown on the Rome tour by For better appreciation of this image go to the collection on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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