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La Maddalena

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La Maddalena

English name: The Magdalene
Dedication: Mary Magdalene
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Type: National church
Clergy: Priests Ministers of the Sick
Built: 16691698
Architect(s): Carlo Fontana, G.C. Quadrio
Artists: Aureliano Milani
Contact data
Address: Piazza della Maddalena 53
00186 Roma
Phone: 06 89 92 81

La Maddalena is a Rococo church dedicated to St Mary Magdelene, just north of the Pantheon. The full name of the church is Santa Maria Maddalena in Campo Marzio, but this is very rarely used. It is served by the Congregation of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Sick also known as Camilliani or Camillians . Picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons.[1]

Since St Mary Magdalen was a penitent sinner, there is an old tradition in Italy of referring to her only by her surname so as to avoid any hint of disrespect to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


It was built between 1669 and 1698 by Carlo Fontana and G.C. Quadrio. La Maddalena is the only true Rococo church in Rome.

It is the National church of the Abruzzo region of Italy.


The Rococo façade was completed in 1735, and has since been completely restored. The stucco on the façade is referred to as "icing sugar" by some, and some wanted to rebuild it completely in Neo-Classical style.

Above the door, below the face of the cherub is this inscription:

   Indulgentia Plenaria Quotidiana Perpetua
   Pro Viuis et Defunctis

This translates, roughly, into

   Indulgence full, daily, everlasting
   for the living and the dead.


The church is cruciform, but the nave is an added ellipse.

The frecoes in the vault of the nave, dome, transepts, over the chancel and in the apse are from the early 18th century. The fresco in the vault depicts The raising of Lazarus at the prayer of his sister Mary, and the apse fresco, by Aureliano Milani, shows The Preaching of Christ.

The sculptures at the sides of the altar are by Pietro Bracci, depicting Mary Magdalene arriving at the empty tomb and encountering Christ in the garden.

In the chapel off the right arm of the transept is a miraculous crucifix, said to have disengaged its arm to comfort St Camillus de Lellis in 1582. The saint's tomb is beneath the large altar on the right side. He lived in the adjacent monastery, and died in his rooms in 1614. The rooms of St Camillus can be visited; you will probably have to ask the sacristan.

Above the second altar on the left side of the nave is a painting of the Madonna holding the Divine Child, by Giordano. Tradition claims that he painted the canvas in just one night. On the right side is a Madonna known as Health to the Sick, from the 15th century.

The fine organ, with a Baroque design, is from 1735.

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