Piazza Barberini & Ecstasy of St Teresa
The Angels & Demons Tour of Rome continues with the next altar of Science: FIRE.
In this episode we visit Piazza Barberini which was featured only in the novel and not the film. We also visit the church Santa Maria della Vittoria that houses Bernini‘s famous Ecstasy of St Teresa sculpture to separate fact from fiction and figure out if Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Teresa is indeed a controversially erotic statue or just a spiritual sculpture. Also in this video you will find some useful tips on visiting this area of Rome on foot and which other destinations are easily reached from here.
If you have only 1 day in Rome to explore the amazing places featured in Angels and Demons novel/film, maximize your sightseeing possibilities with Stefano Rome Tours and follow the footsteps of Robert Langdon in comfort.
Was there an obelisk in Piazza Barberini?
Look around: can you notice 2 things from the Angels and Demons novel that you would’ve never seen in Piazza Barberini?
First, you would’ve NEVER seen an obelisk here because according to all the sources I consulted, an obelisk never existed here! Sources say the obelisk was initially erected as a funeral monument by Emperor Hadrian for the tomb of Antinous in Tivoli.
It was moved to Rome later on in early 3rd century decorate the spina of Circus Varianus – the spina is the median that separates the 2 tracks. It was then found in 1570 near the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, and Pope Urban VIII, a Barberini family member, moved it to the Barberini palace.
Pope Clement XIV then transported the obelisk to the garden of Pigna in the Vatican until 1822 when it was then set up permanently in the gardens of Pincio by Pope Pius VII. Boy, that obelisk has been all over Rome…except HERE!
Second, you will NEVER see the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria here either. That’s because, according to our Rome map, St Maria della Vittoria is a pretty good walk away from Piazza Barberini. To get there, we follow via del Tritone where it meets via Venti Settembre at Lago Santa Susana.
But while we’re here, you can see the fancy Bernini Bristol Hotel where the last scene of the novel took place.
Did the church ever burn down as in Angels and Demons?
In Angels and Demons, the third cardinal was burned alive at this Altar of Science that represents Fire. In the novel, Langton barely survived the fire in the church. In reality, a fire DID happen here, but in 1833, destroying a beautiful altar painting of the Nativity. Now let’s go and see the famous Bernini sculpture: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.
Click on top to watch the Video and find out more about Piazza Barberini and The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.
Thank you very much and be sure to watch the other Angels and Demons series covering the Four Altars of Science: EARTH, AIR, FIRE and WATER.