Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sant'Agnese in Agone

where: Piazza Navona
open: 9:00-13:00 & 15:00-19:00, closed Mondays

Sant'Agnese in Agone is a 17th century Baroque church designed in 1653 by architect Francesco Borromini for the Pamphilj pope, Innocent X. 
It was built on the site of a previous church dedicated to Saint Agnes, a young virgin who was martyred in the 4th century. Agnes refused to be married as she had promised herself to God, so she was tortured and sent to a brothel, her modesty was saved by the miraculous growing of her hair to cover her nakedness, she was then condemned to death.
Beneath the church are the Roman ruins believed to be the crypt where Saint Agnes was humiliated and can be visited via a staircase behind the left pillar of the altar of St Alexis.

The church interior is decorated with statues by Baroque artists Alessandro Alegardi, Domenico Guido, Ercole Ferrata and Antonio Raggi.
The dome frescoes of the Assumption are by Ciro Ferri (1670) and the pendentives, by il Baciccio date from between 1662 and 1672.

In front of the church is Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers. Bernini and Borromini were great rivals of the Baroque, often fighting for the same commissions and there is a legend that Bernini purposely designed one of his giants in the fountain with an arm raised to protect himself from Borromini's church toppling onto the fountain — the legend is clearly untrue as Bernini's fountain was installed well before the church was finished.

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Helpful Hints

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

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

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

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once 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.

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