The church is the work of architect Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) and was completed in 1603. The church comprises of a single nave and two side chapels.
The fifth century Basilica was built just outside the precincts of the Baths of Diocletian with three aisles.
The frescoes on the central Nave represent scenes from the life of Susanna from the Book of Daniel (13) and are by Baldassarre Croce (1563-1638.)
The frescoes on the curved side of the Apse include Santa Susanna being threatened by the Massimiano, the son of Diocletian, but defended by the angel of God and Santa Susanna refusing the worship the idol Jupiter. The frescoes on the dome depict Santa Susanna flanked by angels with musical instruments. These frescoes are by Ceasre Nebbia of Orvieto (1536-1614.)
The painting behind the High Altar depicts the beheading of Santa Susanna and is by Tommaso Laureti of Palermo (1530-1602)
The large fresco in the presbytery shows the matyrdom of St Gabinius and the work of Baldassarre Croce. The fresco to the right depicts the matyrdom of St Felicity and her seven sons. Thius is the work of Paris Nogari (1558-1628)
The statues of the four major prophets in the aisle and the two in the prespbytery (Peter and Paul) are the works of Giovanni Antonio Paracea.
The chapel to the right has two recent frescos of the SS Benedict and Bernard who are held dear by the Cistercian Order - the order to which the nuns of this Church belong. The originals are inside the monastry.
The side-chapel to the left is the work was Domenico Fontana and was commissioned by Camilla Peretti, the sister of Sistus V and benefactress of the monastery. The paintings are by Ciovan Battista Pozzo (1563-1591) of Milan. The Chapel is dedicated to St Lawerence. The alter painting depicts the matyrdom of St Lawrence and is by Cesare Nebbia. Also in the Chapel of St Lawerence, St Genesius, patron of actors, is depictred being baptised and, to the right, the matyrdom of the Bishop St Eleutherius.
The gilt stucco decorations of the presbytery are the carved in the design of Carlo Maderno. The facade os considered one of the most significant works of Carlo Maderno. The statues on the higher level (Pope St Caius and St Genesius) are by Valsoldo and those on the lower level are attributed to Stefano Maderno.
Foundations of the early Christian Church (possibly from the end of the thirds century) and 8th century frescoes have recently been discovered in the the nuns Sacristy.
(Primary source: Pamphlet available at the Church)
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|Name:||Church of St Susanna, Cistercian Nuns|
15 Via Venti Settembre, 00187 Rome
Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook