Photographer's Note

This is the sculpture by Bernini, The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, made (even more) famous by featuring in the second of the Da Vinci Code Series, Angels and Demons. It's now housed in 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, was begun in 1605 and completed in 1626. There is exquisite decoration, much contributed by de Rossi and other luminaries, 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 and resembles the nearby Santa Susanna.

It 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.

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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: 621] (1386)
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