My favorite church in Rome stole my heart based on its facade alone.
Sandwiched between encroaching buildings, the church sits at the apex of a small piazza.
I paused to take a photo of its perfect 2-story exterior wedged between much higher structures a few Saturdays ago, and did one of those cartoon gasps.
The green door that is nearly always shuttered, was actually open.
Inside, pews start at the narrow entrance to maximize use of the minuscule space.
The church widens slightly to accommodate 3 more rows of pews as you advance towards the simple altar.
The patterned black-and-white marble floors draw the eye down, but if you are lucky enough to pass by when the church is open, take the time to look up and admire the deep blue frescoed ceilings.
There are also, naturally, large-scale old paintings that seem to impose and dominate the limited wall space.
However, none of this is what makes the church of Santa Maria dei Librai special.
The best thing about this tiny church by Campo de’ Fiori is the rainbow marble that covers the interior.
Red, orange, purple, green – the bubbled walls are a riot of pastels. Circles in varying sizes cut through the marble walls, making each color in the spectrum blend together perfectly in this tiny, tranquil church.
(Oh, plus when you’re done you can get some of the city’s best fried fish at Dar Filettaro next door).
Santa Barbara dei Librai
Largo dei Librari,
00186 Roma, Italy