Santa Maria in Carinis

Santa Maria in Carinis (2001)

    The church of Santa Maria in Carinis, now deconsecrated, derives its name from the ancient district of the Carinae, which existed between the Colosseum and the present Via di San Pietro in Vincoli. The origin of the denomination Carinae is obscure, but it may have something to do with the enormous offsets of the Esquiline, which once appeared here in the form of carene, i.e. keels. The church is situated at the corner of Via del Colosseo and the short Via del Tempio della Pace, not far from Via Cavour. Its origins goes back to the late 12th century, but it has been rebuilt several times since then. The church had only one altar, and it was dedicated to the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary. For some time Cistercians managed the church, but in 1809 it was passed on to Greek-Melchite Basilians from Monte Libano. The date of deconsecration is uncertain, but it may have occurred some time after the year of 1870, when massive urban transformations began to take place in the area. Extensive reconstructions and demolitions were undertaken in the former district of the Carinae with the purpose to open up new streets, especially Via Cavour. Around 1970 the church served as a storehouse for a haulage company.

    Between the years 2000 and 2001 the building, which incorporates the former church, underwent an extensive restoration. The photograph above was taken in April 2001, while the one below was taken a year earlier, in April 2000. The two photographs show that the exterior of the church is devoid of any individual architectural appearance. The cross-piece between the door and the small grated window has the following, scarcely readable, dedicatory inscription: S. MARIA IN CARINIS.

Santa Maria in Carinis (2000)