The beautiful 16th century gilded wooden ceiling is one of the glories of the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
The coffered ceiling was created to commemorate the Battle of Lepanto (1571), a naval engagement between the fleets of the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire. The side coffers depict battle trophies, including the beaks of galleys.
The admiral of the Papal fleet was Marcantonio Colonna, a leading member of the Roman nobility. Colonna financed the construction of the ceiling, as the large inscription on the counter-facade records.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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