Santa Maria in Vi
a is a basilica church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church
was already built in the 9th century, but was rebuilt in occasion of a miracle to host an icon.
For reference, a plan of the church is available here
A church or a chapel was present in the same place in the 9th century. In 1165, it is recorded as Santa Maria in Via, whose appellative means "on the Way", with a reference to the close by Via Flaminia.
On the site there was the house of Cardinal Pietro Capocci, and there was a well in his stable yard. On the night of
26 September 1256, the well overflowed. The horses were frightened, and when the domestics rushed out they found
an icon of the Blessed Virgin, painted on a stone, floating on the water.
Pope Alexander IV declared it a miracle, and
ordered the construction of a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The new chapel incorporated the older church.
In the chapel (the first on the right of the current church) there is still the well of the miracle.
The present church was built 1491-1513, on orders from
Pope Innocent VIII. In 1494,
he made it a parochial church. In 1513, it was granted to the Servite Order by
Pope Leo X (1513-1521). They still
serve the church.
It was restructured in 1594 by
Francesco da Volterra, and later by
Carlo Lombardi. The work was completed at the request of St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, titular of the church, in 1604.
It was estabished as a cardinalitial titular church in 1551 by
Pope Julius III.
The first titular priest was Giuliuo Cardinal della Cornea O.S.Hier. (1551-1555).
Among other titulars we find, as mentioned above,
St Robert Bellarmine S.J. (1599-1620), a Jesuit who was one of the foremost champions of the Catholic cause during the Counter-Reformation.