Best basilicas in Rome
The best churches for your Catholic Wedding in Rome
After giving you a lot of tips about oudoor civil wedding in Rome, I could not fail to introduce you the Best basilicas in Rome for your Catholic Wedding in Rome. Practicing Catholics and Christians in general, here in Rome really have a huge choice: Churches of Rome are in fact about 900 but, despite this huge number, they are almost always the same to be targeted by brides and grooms.
In this list of 10 Best basilicas in Rome for your Catholic Wedding in Rome, I included not only the most renowned ones: in fact there are some less known but equally splendid and particularly suitable for weddings — especially from my point of view as an italian wedding photographer!
St. Peter's Basilica is far too imposing for a wedding, with its surface of 23.000 square meters (more than 27.000 square yards)!
Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio
This church, also known as Church of the Chandeliers, is one of the most requested in Rome, precisely because of its peculiarity of having a series of chandeliers to illuminate the interior. It is located in the central area, on the Celio hill.
The interior of the Church of the Chandeliers, where they stand out in the central nave
While on the outside it has a very simple facade, of early Christian origin (although remodeled over the centuries), with a large porch to act as an entrance, inside it is instead opulent in its Baroque style, to the point of also containing real chandeliers!
The internal part is divided into three naves and, if you brides imagine a royal entrance, this is exactly what you will face in this case: the central nave is in fact over 44 meters (144ft) long, so you will have a way to go, with your heart in throat, to reach your beloved groom!
Basilica of Saint Praxedes
Also Basilica of Saint Praxedes, just as the Church of the Chandeliers, has ancient origins and has been renewed over the centuries. Today its interior even looks like a Byzantine church, with wonderful mosaics in the apse that stand out from a distance.
In addition to the mosaics, there are numerous frescoes that color the very bright interior.
Interior of the Basilica of Saint Praxedes, with its mosaics
The facade, very simple if not for a heavy element above the door, unfortunately is not visible from the street, because it overlooks an internal courtyard totally surrounded by some houses. Today there is a small side entrance which is used to access the interior (something to be taken into account for the bride's entrance).
Basilica of Saint Praxedes has three naves, the two lateral are divided from the central one by a colonnade. However, it is a very spacious church, capable of holding a large number of believers.
Last important information: the basilica is located in the central Rione Monti.
The detail of the mosaic and the facade
Basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano
Basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano is a very little known church, although it is located on Via dei Fori Imperiali, slightly off the beaten track almost as if it wanted to hide from the mass of tourists who crowd the area. It is also very ancient and there's a reason because I did report it right after the Basilica of Saint Praxedes: in the apse there is in fact also here a splendid mosaic which enhances the presbytery, with its colors on a bright blue background.
The interior of Basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano, where is clearly visible the mosaic
But that's not all: if the entrance is actually not very beautiful and rather merges with the adjacent buildings, immediately afterwards we find a large cloister where it is very pleasant to stop and entertain yourself with your guests. It is well-kept, there are plants and also several original frescoes. From this cloister you can enter the Basilica.
The real show is inside: a large window opposite the presbytery allows an amazing light to frame the couple, obviously positioned in front of the altar, creating a unique and romantic atmosphere. Look at the photographs of Vanessa and Nick wedding: the light in the church really made the difference!
A side note: inside the Basilica is possible to look at part of the original Roman temple, on which the Basilica was later built, and in an adjoining room you can admire a wonderful Neapolitan nativity scene dating back to the 18th century!
Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva
This basilica, dating back to the 13th century, is more recent than the previous ones. And it is a very rare case of Gothic architecture in Rome: those who love the high naves in the style of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, will surely be fascinated!
As in all Gothic churches, the upward thrust of the structure is of great impact and those who enter it are amazed because the facade has a completely different style, mainly Romanesque.
Interior of Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Also in this case we have three naves, however separated by a mighty colonnade covered in light marble, which recalls the blue color of the ceiling background. The altar is important and doesn't disfigure in comparison with architecture: it is gold in color and on it lies the tomb of Saint Catherine of Siena.
Of the large apse you can see the high windows, of sure impact also because, as for all Gothic churches, the environment is a bit dark. This should not frighten you, because the present light is still more than enough for a photo shoot and indeed contributes to creating a very suggestive atmosphere.
Mausoleum of Santa Costanza
As its name implies, the building originated as a mausoleum and was later converted into a church. I don't hide the fact that it is one of my favorite churches here in Rome: ancient, simple, bare and at the same time atypical. Being a mausoleum, its plan is in fact circular.
Interior of Mausoleum of Santa Costanza
Imagine sitting on those benches in a building dating back to the 4th century, witnessing almost 2000 years of history.
Imagine being surrounded by your loved ones in the true sense of the word: unlike traditional churches, they will all be around you to witness your union before God.
Imagine looking up at the light coming from the dome, lingering, enchanted, its frescoes.
I must admit that the only source of light coming from above is not exactly the best from the point of view of photography, but I willingly give up a perfect light for such a suggestive environment.
Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round on the Celian Hill
Again we have an early Christian church, also in this case a circular church. Unlike the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza, this building was designed as a Basilica: that's why its dimensions are greater than those of the mausoleum.
The interior of the Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round on the Celian Hill
We therefore have a more imposing, less snug building, where there is even room for a side chapel. The believers have ample space to sit, organized as for a ceremony in a more traditional structure.
Despite the larger dimensions compared to the previous case, the circular plan always has its charm, also because it is atypical compared to the traditional ones.
At the exit, a large courtyard will allow you to take impactful photos and entertain yourself with your guests.
Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is another important curch for your Catholic Wedding in Rome, this time located in the Trastevere district.
The structure originated in the 5th century, but it is evident that it has been remodeled over time: much of what we see today dates back to the 16th-17th centuries and is in Baroque style, very different from the Romanesque style.
Exterior of Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
This does not mean that the basilica has lost its charm: its central nave, which is very large compared to the side aisles, gives ample space to the entire structure. The frescoes, present behind the altar and on the ceiling, although in a different style, are of disconcerting beauty. The geometries and the separation of the spaces help to manage the opulence of the baroque details.
But what I really love about this church is the light: the windows, placed high on both sides of the central nave, is reflected in the "handles" that enclose them and spreads in the nave with a unique softness. I have rarely found such a beautiful light — from the point of view of photography, of course — in a church.
Interior of Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Outside, a large open space and a small well-kept garden complete the picture of a truly fascinating basilica.
Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven
As with the previous best basilicas in Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven (in latin Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli) was also built on an existing pre-Roman place of worship, this time on the Campidoglio hill, therefore in a very central position.
The Basilica is located in an elevated position and can be reached by a long staircase of 125 steps. If the visual impact is certainly remarkable, you brides do not underestimate it: keep in mind that you will have to go upstairs with the wedding dress and probably not very comfortable heels!
While the external facade is very simple and recalls the Romanesque style, the interior of this Basilica for your Catholic Wedding in Rome has a Baroque style with some Gothic elements. Its dimensions are truly imposing, with a central nave 44 meters long, surmounted by a finely worked wooden coffered ceiling. Also the side aisles are very rich, presenting 18 chapels, 9 on each side, full of frescoes, altarpieces and statues of exquisite workmanship.
Finally some elements are similar to other basilicas that we have seen previously: here too there are chandeliers such as the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio (which, however, retains the "title" of Church of the Chandeliers) and splendid lighting such as that of the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, thanks to the large windows overlooking the central nave.
The central nave of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven
The altar could not have been less than the rest: it is imposing, framed by 15 chandeliers and two majestic statues, while the pipes of one of the two organs emerge from the bottom of the apse.
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza
Located in the Sant'Eustachio district, the Church of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza was designed by Francesco Borromini, one of the best italian architect of the 17th century: so the church was designed in Baroque style, and built starting from 1642.
The architectural elements of this church are striking: first of all the exterior is truly splendid since it overlooks a inner courtyard whose overall view is spectacular; the interior is certainly atypical with its characteristic central dome and the plan that alternates corners with rounded elements.
The courtyard which leads to the Church of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza
Regarding the indoor architecture, white is the predominant color. There are some frescoes, but what stands out most is the characteristic gold color of the details, typically used in churches, especially in the Roman Baroque ones.
Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso
I conclude this article about the Best basilicas in Rome for your Catholic Wedding in Rome with a contemporary construction, the work of the famous architect Richard Meier: the Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso (Italian for Church of God the Merciful Father), better known as Jubilee Church or Dives in misericordia.
Built from 1998 to 2003 in Tor Tre Teste area, it has a unique shape and for lovers of contemporary architecture it can be an alternative choice fo your wedding in Rome.
Leaving aside the technical details (which are also really interesting and I invite you to examine in depth them, if you are interested, here and here) with which it was built, let's look at it with the eye of a simple believer.
The exterior shows itself as a graceful-looking white structure with concrete elements alternating with glass elements: three sails, which represent the holy trinity, almost as if they were inflated by the wind of faith, seem to move the whole church, a sort of caravel containing the believers inside.
Exterior of the Jubilee Church
The interior, from a photographic point of view, is a marvel for the eyes: the light, which filters through the totally transparent windows, is not changed in color, is reflected on the white walls and enhances the shapes of the altar. You are almost blinded by so much brightness! But be careful: you must not make the mistake of thinking that this light so present flattens the interior. On the contrary, it gives dynamism to the structure, which remains one of the most beautiful to photograph here in Rome.
Interior of the Jubilee Church
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