Saint Mary of the Snow Church Rome

Saint Mary of the Snow Church Rome - tympan

The Church of Santa Maria della Neve (Saint Mary of the Snow) is located near the Colosseum in Rome. It is normally closed to the public and can only be visited during special occasions.

Saint Mary of the Snow Church Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Via del Colosseo, 18 – Rome. Opening hours and admission: The church is usually closed.

History and description

Saint Mary of the Snow Church Rome
Saint Mary of the Snow Church

Of the origins of Saint Mary of the Snow but little is known. Mention of Santa Maria della Neve is first made in the 12th century, albeit as property of the Cardinal of the nearby Saint Peter in Chains.

Santa Maria della Neve is also known as Sant’Andrea de Tabernula or Sant’Andrea de Portugallo (Saint Andrew’s in Portugal).

In 1607 the church was given to the Università dei Rigattieri, who paid for its reconstruction under the architect Carlo Fontana. It needs to be understood that università  at the time did not only mean “university”, but also “guild” and rigattieri means “junk dealers”.

In 1798, after the French revolution it was given to the Brotherhood of Santa Maria della Neve and it got its present name. This confraternity had lost its original church (Santa Maria dei Foglianti) during the French occupation and got the former Saint Andrew’s in Portugal, re-naming it Saint Mary of the Snow.

Nowadays Santa Maria della Neve is a secondary church belonging to the Santa Maria ai Monti parish and is used by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay organization famous for its charity work in aid of homeless people and drug addicts.

Works of art in Santa Maria della Neve

  • The altar on the right has a painting of The Baptism of Jesus.
  • The painting on the central, high altar, represents the Assumption.
  • The altar on the left pictures Saint Francis and Saint Claire.


One of the nicknames of the much more famous Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is also Santa Maria della Neve. This is because that church was built on a spot where once, in the middle of summer, snow fell. The Santa Maria della Neve Church itself is also named after this event.

Via del Colosseo, 18 – Rome

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