Friday, June 10, 2016

San Luigi dei Francesi

Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi
metro - Linea B Colosseo

This church was one of the first churches that I ever visited in Rome and one I always return to.
It was built in 1589 and is the National French church in Rome.
The exterior is quite plain with statues of Charlemange and French saints designed by Giacomo della Porta, but the interior is what the church is most famous for with Caravaggio's three canvases in the Contarelli Chapel depicting the Vocation of St Matthew, the Martyrdom of St Matthew and St Matthew and the Angel.
On the right hand side of the church, in the second chapel, are Domenichino's frescoes of the Life of St Cecilia and the copy of Raphael's St Cecilia over the altar by Guido Reni.
On the left, in the third chapel dedicated to St Louis, is work by the female Baroque architect and artist Plautilla Bricci and a painting by Ludivico Gimignani.
It is the fifth chapel on the left, the chapel dedicated to St Matthew, also known as the Contarelli Chapel, which holds the three famous canvases by Caravaggio. Painted between 1599 and 1600 the Baroque cycle shows scenes from the bible of Jesus calling Matthew to follow him, the angel inspiring Saint Matthew and Saint Matthew's martyrdom. Giuseppe Cesari decorated the chapel ceiling with frescoes.
Although the chapel is quite dark and it can be hard to see the details of Caravaggio's paintings, the chapel can be lit for the price of a couple of euros.
At the high altar is the Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Bassano the Younger and dates from the 16th century.
The nave ceiling, dating from the 18th century, is by Charles-Joseph Natoire.

The church is open daily from 9:30am until 12:30pm and reopens at 2:00pm until 6:30pm and a guide book to the church can be bought inside.

Artists in San Luigi dei Francesi
Girolamo Muziano
Charles-Joseph Natiore
Baldassare Croce
Plutilla Bricci
Francesco Bassano the Younger
Reynaud Levieux
Pellegrino Tibaldi

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking around Rome was the best way to see everything but the metro, trams and buses are an easy and cheap option also.

Most buses and metros do get crowded and tickets must be bought before boarding and validated when you first get on but it is a great way to get around and see Rome if you are short on time or suffer from sore feet.

Buses #40 and #64 starts at Termini and ends near St. Peter's traveling past other places of interest, returning the same way.

Bus #75 takes you past the Colosseum

Bus #910 takes you to Villa Borghese

#64 & #40 Express Bus


Piazza Venezia

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Campo de'Fiori

St. Peter's

The Electric buses that are around Rome can travel into the older parts of the city and wind around the narrow streets. Bus #116 travels though the streets of Centro Storico.

Ticket Options

B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro,tram or bus ride for a 100 minute period.

B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

B.T.I (Turistic) is a 3 day tourist ticket and the same as B.I.G but for more days of travel.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding ticket. Tickets once they are validated, start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.