The church is located near the birthplace of Santa Rosa and has a very exciting history, in fact its neoclassical style clearly stands out from the rest of the city of Viterbo.
The first church with a monastery attached was built around the 12th century by nuns who followed the order of Santa Chiara.
In 1258, Pope Alexander IV exhumed the body of Santa Rosa and had it brought to the church with a solemn procession from which he then started the spectacular procession of the Machine of Santa Rosa which is repeated every year and which has become a UNESCO World Heritage event.
The church was then destroyed by fire in 1367 and rebuilt even larger.
In the Renaissance, then, a great internal restoration profoundly changed the medieval style and erased the frescoes, but the last renovation was in 1850 by the bishop of Viterbo.
Today the church has a nineteenth-century style with a fa├žade in peperino stone, that recalls a Roman temple, and the neoclassical interior. The church has three naves and a Greek cross plan with an octagonal dome in the centre. The dome was frescoed in 1917 with the 4 evangelists and saints.
On one side there is access to the monastery and to the rooms dedicated to Santa Rosa where there is the great baroque urn of 1699 in gilded bronze and silver which contains her visible body. It is a true work of art with angels carved on the sides that protect the young woman’s body.
Only a small part of the monastery is visible such as the council chamber with wooden carved seats and a room containing artistic masterpieces such as a polyptych of 1441 executed by Francesco D’Antonio Zacchi of Viterbo.
From this church the historical procession starts every year, in fact the ceremonies begin with the homage of the civil and religious authorities to the body of the saint (as it was established by a municipal resolution of 1512). The historical procession includes hundreds of assistants who parade with costumes belonging to different eras, starting from 1200 when there was the first procession that followed the body of Santa Rosa, until 1800. The procession closes with young girls who they wear a habit, like that of the saint in the urn, and carry baskets of roses and candles, a tribute to the Poor Clare nuns.
The procession of the carriage of Santa Rosa ends then just at the foot of the square of this sanctuary.
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