Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Sunday, February 21, 2010

RST Top 40. #24: Rome's Signature and Europe's Largest Mosque

With some trepidation (but no doubt about its merits), we offer the Rome mosque, the largest mosque in Europe, as #24 in Rome the Second Time's Top 40. It's a magnificent structure, with some interesting controversy in its planning (why wouldn't there be, with an enormous Muslim landmark in the center of Catholicism's spiritual and administrative and, in every other way, home?).

I loved it instantly. I think Bill took some warming, including some high praise by Ingrid Rowland in a New York Review of Books article on Tiepolo where she devotes substantial coverage to the mosque's architect, Paolo Portoghesi (Bill wrote about this in his January 2 blog - here's the link to it:

Rather than repeat everything I said last June, I'll supply the link to the June 27, 2009 post below, and add a few new comments.

While our primary interest in the mosque is architectural, the religious issues are intriguing as well. One author claims the gorgeous, massive mosque is deserted, abandoned for other, smaller, more active mosques ( But another argues that the imam at the main Rome mosque is preaching jihad ( Both articles are linked here. You be the judge.

In any event, a visit is definitely in our Top 40. Just remember visiting hours for non-Muslims are limited - Wednesday and Saturday 9-11:30; women MUST wear head coverings. And, Fridays are the most active days, including the market outside the mosque gates - for everyone.

Here's the link to the earlier post:, which includes directions at the end and many more photos.

The trepidation I mentioned at the beginning derives from the traffic our blog gets from surfers who seem highly interested in "mosque", but not so much in Rome. We're not exactly anxious to set them off again! But we can't fail to put this wonderful 20th-century architectural statement in Rome the Second Time's Top 40.


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