Ponte Parione, Rome
Piazza Navona is a Baroque square, surrounded by beautiful buildings, which attractions street artists, musicians, and tourists.
New Church (Santa Maria in Vallicella)
The church of Santa Maria in Vallicella was begun in 1575 on the initiative of St Philip Neri, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory. It was built on the site of an earlier (12th century) church dedicated to St John, and is still popularly known as the "New Church". A number of different donors and architects were involved in its construction. The exterior of the church is of imposing effect with its massive facade (by Fausto Rughesi) and central dome rearing high above the close-packed houses in the older part of the city. The sumptuously decorated interior of this high cruciform three-aisled basilica is notable particularly for frescoes by Pietro da Cortona and paintings on the high altar (early works by Rubens). Left of the choir is the Chapel of San Filippo Neri, containing his tomb of marble and mother-of-pearl.
Sant'Agostino, situated near the Piazza Navona, is noted for its image of the Madonna del Parto (Madonna of Childbirth) who is invoked by pregnant women seeking a safe delivery and by married couples wanting a child. The church, built between 1479 and 1483 (probably by Giacomo da Pietrasanta) and rebuilt in 1750, has a severe travertine facade, one of the earliest Renaissance facades in Rome. The interior, with a high nave barely wider than the aisles, is dominated by the dome which is flanked by the transepts. In addition to the Madonna del Parto (by Jacopo Sansevino, 1421) the church has a painting of the prophet Isaiah by Raphael (1512; third pillar on left) and Caravaggio's "Madonna of the Pilgrims" (1605; third chapel in north aisle).To the right of the church is the Biblioteca Angelica (state-owned since 1873), a library specialising in philology.
Santa Maria della Pace
Santa Maria della Pace, one of Rome's most beautiful churches, reached its present form in a number of stages. In 1482 Pope Sixtus IV rebuilt an earlier church of the Virgin on this site in thanksgiving for the peace with Milan. The architect is thought to have been Bacio Pontelli, who created a rectangular church to which another architect, perhaps Bramante, added an octagonal structure and a cloister. In 1656 Pietro da Cortona restored the church, adding the Baroque facade and a semicircular porch (pronate). This spirited entrance gives access to the nave and octagon, which contains famous frescoes by Raphael (1415) depicting the ancient Sibyls, to which figures of prophets and saints were later added by other painters.The admirably proportioned cloister, built for Cardinal Oliviero Caraffa in 1504, was Bramante's first work in Rome.
San Luigi dei Francesi
San Luigi dei Francesi, dedicated to St Louis (Louis IX of France), is the French national church in Rome. It was begun by Cardinal Giulio de'Medici, later Pope Clement VIII, but work was then suspended and not resumed until 1580 (under the direction of Domenico Fontana). The church was dedicated in 1589. The Renaissance facade was probably the work of Giacomo della Porta (c. 1540-1602). The church itself, a three-aisled pillared basilica, contains three major pictures (scenes from the life of St Matthew) by Caravaggio (c. 1597). Masterpieces of realistic painting, with Caravaggio's new composition of light and shade and striking chiaroscuro effects, they were not universally admired at the time. A self-portrait of the artist can be seen to the left of the executioner in the martyrdom scene.
Oratorio dei Filippini
Immediately to the left of the Chiesa Nuovo is the Oratory, a residential house of prayer of the Congregation of Oratorians founded by St Philip Neri. The house was built for the Oratorians - an order which was very popular in Rome - by Borromini (1637-50), and was designed as a place where they could live, work and pray in common. A notable feature of the building is the finely articulated facade, which contrasts with the adjoining church in height, form and coloring. The Sala del Borromini, in the former Oratory, is now used as a concert hall. The Oratory also contains the Biblioteca Vallicelliana, the oldest library open to the public in Rome.
Church of St Ivo in Palazzo della Sapienza
One of the most distinctive landmarks of Rome is the dome, with its airy lantern and spiral finial, of the church of St Ivo in the Palazzo della Sapienza. The "Sapienza" was the home of the University of Rome from its foundation by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 until it was able to move to more spacious accommodation in the University City in 1935. The three-story palace, now housing the State Archives, was built by Giacomo della Porta for Pope Sixtus V in 1587. Crossing the inner courtyard between the two massive wings of the palace, we come to the church of Sant'Ivo, a Baroque chapel with a lively facade mingling concave and convex forms. The interior with its semicircular and trapezoid elements was designed by Borromini in the form of a bee, the heraldic emblem of Pope Urban VIII, a member of the noble Barberini family. The church as a whole is a masterly example of the work of Borromini, domestic architect of the Barberini family.
Santa Maria dell'Anima
Pilgrims to Rome expected to find a hospice where they could stay and a church belonging to their particular nation. Santa Maria dell'Anima, situated near the Piazza Navona, was built in 1501-14 for German pilgrims - that is, all pilgrims from the Holy Roman Empire - and it is still a church of the German Catholic community in Rome. Soon after the church was built Pope Adrian VI (1522-23) - a native of Utrecht and the last non- Italian Pope before John Paul II - was buried here. His tomb, on the south side of the choir, is flanked by allegorical figures representing the four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. The experience of this sorely tried Pope, who reigned during the early days of the Reformation, is summarized in a Latin inscription referring to the effect on a man's life of the age into which he is born. The interior of this tall hall-church is richly decorated.
Portico of Octavia
The Portico of Octavia was originally built by Quintus Merellus Macedonius in 149 B.C., and dedicated to his sister Octavia, whose name it now bears; it was later rebuilt by Septimus Severus and Caracalla. It is now represented by a number of columns and remains of the entablature, which are incorporated in the porch of the church of Sant'Angelo in Peschiera. The portico, adjoining the Theatre of Marcellus, originally covered an area 115m/375ft by 135m/445ft in extent and contained numerous pieces of Greek and Roman sculpture.
Museo Mario Praz
The eclectic collections of art and objets d'art of the professor and aesthete who died in 1982.There are 10 rooms containing over 1,200 items including paintings, sculptures and furnishings. Many of the exhibits in the Mario Praz Museum House date from the end of the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century.