Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli
This church is located on the north-east side of Piazza della Repubblica. In the church can be found a meridian which stretches on the floor from the right transept to the main apse. The meridian was formerly used for the regulation of time in Rome, especially for the calculation of Easter. 1
Near the meridian is an inscription honouring King James III and VIII. Some 1.8 metres from the right wall of the right transept an oval piece of white marble (42 cm. by 30 cm.) is set into the pavement. At the top of the tablet is a royal crown. At the centre is a Latin inscription: 2
A further Latin inscription wraps around the oval tablet:
Twelve of the letters of the inscription around the tablet are of a larger size than the other letters (MDCCXVIIIIII). This is a reference to the year 1721 in which King James recognised the Gregorian reform of the calendar (which the Elector of Hanover did not recognise in Great Britain until 1752). 3 The phrase "Felix temporum reparatio" (Happy restoration of the times) is thus a play on words: it refers firstly to the Gregorian reform of the calendar and its acceptance by James; it also refers to the desired restoration of King James to his throne and the increase in Jacobite hopes thanks to the birth of the Prince of Wales (later King Charles III) on December 31, 1720.
The church is open Monday to Saturday from 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and Sunday from 8.00 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.
1 Armando Schiavo, La Meridiana di S. Maria degli Angeli (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1993).
2 The phrase "Felix temporum reparatio" was originally introduced in the year 348 on the Roman coins of the Emperors Constantius II and Constans. It is sometimes popularly translated as "Happy days are here again."
3 Sergio Caggìa and Michelle von Buren, "Clock-Work Rome: Sun Dials & Clocks in the City", Nerone the Insider's Guide to Rome (http://www.nerone.cc/nerone/archivio/arch28.htm).
Image 1 (Memorial to King James III and VIII): © Noel S. McFerran, 2001.