The beautiful titular church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is home to a masterpiece of medieval fresco painting.
The monumental fresco of the Last Judgement (c. 1293) was painted by the Roman artist and mosaic designer, Pietro Cavallini (c.1250-c.1330), on the counter-facade of the church. However, much of the painting was lost when Santa Cecilia was given a makeover in the 18th century.
What is left of the fresco would originally have been visible only from the pavement of the nave, twenty feet below. Today, one stands (in the nuns’ choir) directly in front of Christ and the circumambient angels and the impact is overwhelming. To either side of Christ and the angels stand the Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. They, in turn, are each flanked by six seated apostles.
The fresco is accessed by a door to the left of the church, which leads into the Benedictine convent. There is an small entry fee and the fresco can be viewed each morning from 10.00 until 12.30. The convent is closed on Sundays.