The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is¬†one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I.¬†
The inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I (217-222) on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers. The area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers.
The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II. Innocent II razed the church along with the recently completed tomb of the Antipope Anacletus II, his former rival. Innocent II arranged for his own burial on the spot formerly occupied by the tomb.
The present nave preserves its original (pre-12th century) basilica plan and stands on the earlier foundations. The 22 granite columns with Ionic and Corinthian capitals that separate the nave from the aisles came from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, as did the lintel of the entrance door. Inside the church are a number of late 13th-century mosaics by Pietro Cavallini on the subject of the Life of the Virgin (1291) centering on a 'Coronation of the Virgin' in the apse. Domenichino's octagonal ceiling painting, Assumption of the Virgin (1617) fits in the coffered ceiling setting that he designed.
The Romanesque campanile is from the 12th century. Near the top, a niche protects a mosaic of the Madonna and Child. The mosaics on the fa√ßade are believed to be from the 12th century. They depict the Madonna enthroned and suckling the Child, flanked by 10 women holding lamps. This image on the fa√ßade showing Mary nursing Jesus is an early example of a popular late-medieval and renaissance type of image of the Virgin. The motif itself originated much earlier, with significant 7th century Coptic examples at Wadi Natrun in Egypt.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the¬†Bourbon¬†Kings during their rule of the¬†Kingdom of the Two Sicilies¬†(1734-1860): the others were the palaces of¬†Caserta,¬†Capodimonte¬†overlooking Naples, and the third¬†Portici, on the slopes of¬†Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect¬†Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King¬†Philip III of Spain¬†on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy¬†Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of¬†Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by¬†Battistello Caracciolo,¬†Giovanni Balducci, and¬†Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the¬†Royal Chapel of Assumption¬†was not completed until 1644 by¬†Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of¬†Charles III of Spain¬†to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to¬†Maria Amalia of Saxony¬†in 1738,¬†Francesco De Mura¬†and¬†Domenico Antonio Vaccaro¬†helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under¬†Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to¬†Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of¬†Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the¬†Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to¬†Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by¬†Joachim Murat¬†and his wife,¬†Caroline Bonaparte, with¬†Neoclassic¬†decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of¬†Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a¬†Party Wing¬†and a¬†Belvedere¬†were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with¬†San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of¬†Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the¬†National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from¬†bombing during World War II¬†and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous¬†Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the¬†Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.