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© Copyright 2018

Gianluca Pica
 


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BLOG OF A TOUR GUIDE IN ROME

30/11/2018, 20:53

romeisus, rome, roma, papa, pontefice, basilica, quattrocento, tomba, bronzo



TOMB-OF-POPE-MARTINO-V


 To see the tomb of Pope Martino V, in the St John in Lateran Basilica, means to understand the history of Rome of the XV century....



In the St John in Lateran Basilica, just next to the "confessio" and the canopy which host the silver reliquaries that, according to the tradition, have the heads of St Paul and St Peter inside, you will find this big bronze slab, usually covered with coins. Ok, you are in front of the tomb of Martino V, that the real name was Oddone Colonna. He became Pope at the 1417 thanks to the Council of Costanza (in Germany), ratified the end of the so called Western Schism (when the Christian clergy was basically separeted in two sides). It is sure that Oddone Colonna moved slowly to Rome, because he came to the Eternal City at the 1420, three years after his election. He would like to be sure that Rome was ready for him, without enemies. But when this Pope saw the city for the first time, his heart really got sad. At the time there were just 30.000 inhabitants, and amid them there were several assassins and brigands. No security, religious and civil buildings, like churches and bridges, that were ruins, needed to deep restorations. Roads were dirties and the atmosphere was that one of a city that is loosing its soul. According to the documents and literary sources it was the city found by Martino V, who didn’t lost his strenght in front of this ruination. He started with politics focused on restorations and renovations, in order to make Rome a modern city, for that time. He made a real "renovatio urbis". And so he used the wealth of the Holy Church to repair roads and bridges, he asked to noblemen to restore their palaces and homes, he brought to life a real justice, punishing criminals, thiefs and brigands. Moreover thanks to him several civil and religious buildings were rebuilt or restored. He mainly renovated the St John in Lateran Basilica, the Mother of the Roman Church, cleaning and modernising the main nave. He called Gentile da Fabriano, a famous artist who was, for Rome, a foreign man! Yes, because the Pope brought him, during his travel in Rome, from Fabriano (a city that today is in Italy, but six centuries ago was located in an indipendent and own dukedom. Martino V like very much this basilica, especially because he was the archpriest here. Counting also his modest soul, for the Pope was easy to ask to be buried in the St John in Lateran Basilica, and not in the St Peter’s one, where usually Pope were buried. the problem was that a nephew of him didn’t respect the last wills by Martino V. This young boy asked probably to Donatello, the best sculptor of his times, to make something gorgeous and important for the Pope. And Donatello and his studio were able to create this bronze masterpiece, with the fine and naturalistic head and face of the Pope that are lean on the incredible bronze pillow. So, next time, when you will throw coins away above this monumental tomb, try to keep in mind who really was this Pope, and how famous was the artist who designed this masterpiece... #romeisus #Rome #Roma #Pope #atourguiderome


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