The church of Santa Maria in Via was built between 1491 and 1512, at the behest of Pope Innocent VIII (r. 1484-92). The facade was designed by Giacomo della Porta (1532-1602), but completed by Carlo Rainaldi (1611-91) in 1681.
The first chapel on the right celebrates the miracle of the Madonna del Pozzo (Madonna of the Well). The chapel is built over a well that was once part of a stable-yard belonging to Cardinal Pietro Capocci.
On the night of September 26th, 1256, the well overflowed. The horses were disturbed and the servants rushed out to find an icon of the Virgin Mary, painted on a terracotta tablet, floating on the water. Pope Alexander IV (r. 1254-61) declared the event to be a miracle and ordered the construction of a chapel dedicated to the image.
The well is still in operation and water from it continues to imbibed by the faithful.
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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