The church of Santa Maria Nova, also known as Santa Francesca Romana, stands in part of the ancient Temple of Venus and Roma, which was erected by the emperor Hadrian (r. 117-38).
In 1440 Francesca Bussa de' Leoni, a wealthy Roman noblewoman, who, in 1425, had founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, was interred in Santa Maria Nova. On May 29th 1608, she was canonised by Pope Paul V (r. 1605-21).
In 1925 Pope Pius XI (r. 1922-39) declared Santa Francesca Romana to be the patron saint of car drivers.
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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