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Photographer's Note

I'm always intrigued by these statues with electric lighting. I frequently see them in churches all over Italy but rarely elsewhere. This one is in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (Our Lady of Victory), so named because of the victory at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, which reversed the Reformation in Bohemia. Construction begun in 1605 and was completed in 1626. There is exquisite decoration, much contributed by de Rossi and other luminaries of the Baroque period, but it is perhaps most well-known for Bernini's famous sculpture of Saint Teresa of Avila. It is also the only structure designed and completed by Carlo Maderno. Its façade was created by Giovanni Battista Soria, which somewhat resembles that of the nearby Santa Susanna.

The church now also houses the relics of Saint Victoria herself, who is displayed in a glass sarcophagus. Hers is a fascinating story in and of itself. Legend states that sisters Anatolia and Victoria were betrothed to two non-Christian nobles, but when they refused to proceed with the nuptials on account of their faith their fiancées denounced them as Christians. The women were held prisoner on the respective estates of their suitors until they renounced their faith, but both were eventually turned over to the authorities when they could not be convinced. Victoria was allegedly stabbed to death by her suitor himself, who then died of leprosy six days later. Anatolia was supposedly locked up with a poisonous snake which refused to bite her, and the soldier (Audax) sent into the cell to kill her was subsequently attacked by the snake, but was then saved by Anatolia. He reportedly immediately converted to Christianity and was martyred with her when she was executed by the sword. The body of Saint Victoria was transferred in 827 to Mount Matenano from its prior location on the Piceno, and then again to Farfa in 931, but it is now entombed here. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Rome, with elaborately frescoed ceilings and several other important sculptures in its side chapels. It is a jewel that shouldn't be missed!

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 423] (1160)
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