The St’Helen Chapel: where gold and mysticism stay together

cappella di sant'elenaThere are many places in Rome rich of mystical and religious atmosphere, where mainly a Christian man could find the right location where pray and get in touch with the real sense of the religion. But the Chapel of St’Helen, the Costantino’s Mother, represents a special place for its relics and fot its history.

First of all, I shortly speak about Helen, a woman who strongly embraced the Christian religion. According to the tradition, she decided to go in the Holy Land, in Palestine, in order to find one of the central relic of the Christianity: the Truth Cross, where Jesus Christ died. She was a clever and proud woman, and when she met a man who knew the exact place of the Cross, she asked him where it is. But the poor and old man didn’t want to answer to that foreign person. This is the reason why she inflicted pain to him, until he decided to count everything. In this way St’Helen found the famous “Golgota”, the hill where Jesus Christ basilica santa croce in gerusalemmeand the two thiefs were murdered. But the story doesn’t end here, because she founds three crosses! What could be the real One? Helen imagined a ploy and ordered to bring there a dead body. It was touched by pieces of the three cross, and when it got in touch with a wooden splinter of the Real and Truth Cross, it resuscitated. So, Helen decided to bring in Rome that piece of Cross…and this is the reason why the basilica that contains it, built during the first period of the IV century, is named “Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme” (The Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem).

golgota groundToday we could admire that relics close to other important proofs of the sanctity of the Chstianity: inside the Chapel of St’Helen there’s also the ground of the Golgota that was brought in Rome from Helen.

But what we could see inside the chapel i salso its fantastic mosaic decoration. Try to take a glance just above you, and you will look something incredible and fine gilded background, where coloured tiles form the holy face of Jesus Christ, surrounded and surmounted by angels. It was realized during the XVI century, mosaico cappella sant elenawhen the basilica was totally restored. Imagine how it is special for the Christianity! Of course, there are other pieces of the Holy Cross in Rome and in the world. They usually belonged to a period, the Middle Ages, where were created false relics in order to gain something, especially money.

But that wooden splinter symbolizes St Helen’s, the mother of the man who change the history allowing to the Christian people to come out from the shadows to speak the language of Jesus.


A prehistoric elephant in Rome

arts in rome study abroad roman history rome historyRome hosts many places from museums to archeological areas in which we can observe its huge history, from the first King to the last emperor, or from the building of the first church to the great construction sites like St Peter’s Basilica. Moreover, we can find in Rome many hidden places visited by people who have the fortune to know them. One of them is the Museum of the Origins, set inside one of the majestic palaces of La Sapienza University. The modern headquarter was totally built during the Fascism, but it is so important when we could entry in this museum. In fact, there is a wonderful surprise…

villaggioRomaLa Sapienza University, the main and the most ancient university in Rome, was founded by the Pope Bonifacio VIII during the first part of the XIV century. His will was to provide Rome with a university, so a place in which all the most clever human minds in that period could stay and study, as the other italian and european example. Today, La Sapienza University doesn’t host just classroom or auditoriums, but also many little museums linked to the departments. One of them is this museum, in which we can learn something about the ancient origin of the land of Rome, when the city was just a dream, and when volcanos, waters and earthquakes changed a lot the place in which, after many centuries, will bring to light the powerful of the “Caput Mundi”.

Amid the relief maps of the first huts used by the men of the Neolitic, and some Skulls and Skeletons belonged to people lived here thousand of year ago, you will find a curious and large Cranium.

What is it? Why is so special?

arts in rome la sapienza university rome history

It belonged to an ancient elephant which looks like to a Mammuth. What is curious in this history is the place of the discovering: the Roman Forum! It was bring to light during the excavations which took place in the area during the first years of the XX century, when Benito Mussolini decided to bring new stability in his Rome, changing its profile in order to create a sort of bridge between the modern Rome with the ancient one. Try to imagine how strange and wonderful is this discover: in the Roman Forum, when Rome created his new world, when the Roman society managed to develop with marble temples, columns and architraves, when Julius Caesar celebrated himself, as other powerful men and emperors…there, many years ago, an Elephant walked through the virgin lands of the seven hills and the little mountains, where the two volcanos, Sabatino and Laziale, shape with their fires and lavas the place in which a little village will become the centre of the ancient world.