The Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, also known as Santa Maria degli Angeli, is an ancient Roman bath converted into a church in the 16th century. It was designed by Michelangelo.
It is located on the Piazza della Repubblica, not far from the Termini train station.
The site originally held the largest public baths in the city and were completed in 306. However, over time these baths fell into ruin. A Cardinal acquired the site in 1533 when it was used again, this time to grow gardens amongst the ruins.
Work started on converting the baths to the church that Michelangelo had designed by 1563. After that, alternations have been done to the church including in 1702 when a sundial was placed on the floor. The sundial was important as its function was to check the validity of the new Gregorian calendar. The validity of the calendar was important in relation to the Spring Equinox, since the date of Easter depended on it.
If you are in Rome, it is definitely worth visiting the modern church and the remnants of the baths. If you visit, give yourself at least 1 hour to 1.5 hours so as not to be rushed.
As you walk into the church you realise just how different the church is from the outside. In addition, you will see the stunning coloured marble columns and intricate frescoes on its walls and ceiling.
It is also important to look down at the floor as you walk through the church. For instance, you will find the meridian solar line built by astronomer and philosopher and philosopher Francesco Bianchini in 1703.