Not today, Satan; not today

When it comes to churches, Rome is most definitely the place to be. No matter whether you are Catholic, Christian, Muslim or even atheist, it makes little difference once you step inside one of the many basilicas in Rome, for they are all majestic in their own ways. Though a basilica is still a basilica no matter how decorated it is, it is hard to say that there is no such thing as one basilica being better than another.

Though basilicas range in age, size, color, shape, location and so forth, at the end of the day, all basilicas in Rome are beautiful. Whether you are looking at their paintings, their architecture or even their sculptures (if any), you will still be hit by a wave of “shock and awe.”

Oddly enough, once you get used to the sight of such amazing works of art, you kind of get over it. It goes from “Oh my gosh, that’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life!” to “Oh, look, another church. Meh.” Even then, there are still some churches that will always be great no matter how many times you visit them or how many hours you spend looking at them. For me this happened with Santa Maria della Vittoria.

EM.2016.04.19 Basilica 1
Inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria basilica (credit: Esteban Martinez)

When I first encountered this church, I was on a field trip with one of my classes and I was the first student to walk in after our professor. After just a few steps, I stood still as I was hit by the wave of shock and awe. Throughout the rest of the professor’s lecture, I could not help but let my eyes wander and immerse myself in deep thought mixed in with a lot of staring. Also, neck pain, as I did so many double takes one would think I was doing it on purpose. There isn’t really a way to describe the emotions that run through your body at the sight of such a heavenly place. The best way I could begin to describe it is that at one point while visiting the church, I felt the need to confess all of my sins, both past and present!

EM.2016.04.19 Basilica 2
Inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria basilica (credit: Esteban Martinez)

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