The Well of Santa Maria in Via

July 14, 2016 / Places
Rome, Lazio

427 churches in Rome and close to 2,000 years of Christianity means no end to the number of miraculous events that have taken place in the eternal city throughout its history.

A bit of exploration reveals that Rome has its very own Lady of Lourdes equivalent in Santa Maria in Via, the small church located in the square (of sorts) at the corner of Via del Corso and Via del Tritone.


On the night of September 26th, 1256, a servant of Cardinal Capocci, possibly intentionally, dropped a terracotta tile painted with an image of the Madonna into a well in a horse stall. Except before the heavy tile touched the bottom of the well, the water suddenly rose and then overflowed with such intensity that it began to flood the stall and spook the horses.

The servant ran and woke up the Cardinal, who immediately went to investigate and found the tile floating on top of the still flowing water. Upon retrieving the tile the water receded back down the well to its previous level.

Given the miracle, the Cardinal obviously had a church built on the spot, subsequently rebuilt under Innocenzo VIII in the late 15th century.


The first chapel on the right holds the image of the Madonna of the tile, and on the right a tray of paper cups has kindly been provided. You’ll notice a faucet too; this taps the water of the miraculous well. If you’re ever in the area when the church is open (hours here), you’re welcome to tuck inside for a drink.




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

5 Responses to “The Well of Santa Maria in Via”

  1. Marianna Raccuglia

    Your photos are always so beautiful and I love reading the stories behind them. Thank you, GB

  2. Rosemary Johnson

    Wonderful story! If I ever get to Rome again, I will put this place on my to do list. Thanks!

  3. Ginny Siggia

    Rome is riddled with wondrous churches. I took a walk on the quiet side street from my hotel, and ducked into a most unpretentious doorway to what I thought would be a chapel. It led to the gorgeous Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. The gleaming marble floors went on for miles, and the organ was spectacular, with its thousands of pipes, some horizontally placed. My favorite window was an elaborate, crowned “M”, I assume representing Mary, Queen of Heaven. I cleaned it up with PhotoShop and have given it to several friends. I love finding special churches like this.

  4. Lina Falcone

    I was her five years ago, the church is just beautiful, and I did drink the water from the well. Grazie for sharing.


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