Friday, October 26, 2018

San Silvestro in Capite

where: Piazza di San Silvestro
getting there: from Via del Corso onto Via di San Claudio and across the piazza
open: 7:00-12:00 and afternoon

One street behind Via del Corso in the large Piazza di San Silvestro is the one of the most important examples of the late Baroque, the church of San Silvestro in Capite. 
The church was built in 1591 to the designs of Francesco da Volterra on the site of a previous church dedicated to Pope Sylvester and named in Capite with the claim that it held the relic of the head of John the Baptist.

Passing through the doorway of the later addition facade you can see on the courtyard wall fragments excavated during a church restoration in the 20th century. These pieces of marble and stone date back to early Christian and pagan times.

The interior of the church is rather dark and the stucco and fresco walls now look a little shabby, but during the Baroque era the church was decorated by leading artists of the day, many who were followers of Caravaggio.

Above the high altar is the Baptism of Constantine by Pope Sylvester (c. 1688) by Ludovico Gimignani.
In the chapel of St Francis is the Stigmata of St Francis (1610) by Orazio Gentileschi.
In the chapel of the Crucifixion is the Flagellation by Francesco Trevisani dating from 1695.

The high altar canopy was added in 1667 by Carlo Rainaldi.

The nave dome and pendentives were decorated by Cristoforo Roncalli.
The nave vault frescoes of the Assumption by Giacinto Brandi date from the 17th century.

Saint John the Baptist's head resides in the first chapel on the left.

Orazio Gentileschi

Giacinto Brandi

Giuseppe Ghezzi
Ludovico Gimignano

Francesco Trevisani

Artists in San Silvestro in Capite
Luigi Garzi
Giuseppe Ghezzi
Biaccio Ciarpi

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Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

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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.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki