Saturday, August 9, 2014

San Silvestro al Quirinale

Via XXIV Maggio
opposite Via Mazzarino

San Silvestro al Quirinale is a 16th century church dedicated to Pope Saint Sylvester. Because it was close to the Quirinale Palace it became a popular place of worship for the papacy during the times that the popes resided there. 
The inside is beautifully decorated with paintings, frescoes and marbles from the late Renaissance and Mannerist periods.
Entry to the church is via a door on the left as the facade which was built in 1879 after the street was changed and widened, which also saw the demolition of the first two chapels.
In the chapel of St Sylvester, which is the first chapel on the right, is an altarpiece by Avanzino Nucci from the 17th century of Pope Sylvester Baptizing the Emperor Constantine.
In the second chapel on the right is the icon of the Madonna della Catena  from the 13th century. The icon is included into a painting by Giacinto Gimignani, the side walls paintings are by Cesare Nebbia.
In the chapel of the Holy Theatines there is an altarpiece of Saints Cajetan and Andrew Avellino by Antonio Alberti from 1630.
The Capella Bandini, left of the transept, is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady with stucco statues by Alessandro Algardi from 1628 and four tondi frescoes of biblical scenes by Domenichino dating from 1628, the altarpiece by Scipione Pulzone.
In the next chapel are the vault frescoes by Giuseppe Cesari depicting the Stories of Saint Stephen.
The sanctuary has paintings of angels and the coats of arms of popes Pius V and Clement VIII by brothers Giovanni and Cherubino Alberti from 1601.
The church doesn't seem to be open very often but if you happen to walk past and the side door is open it is well worth a visit.

Artists in San Silvestro al Quirinale
Jacopo Zucchi
Marcello Venusti
Polidoro da Caravaggio
Cherubino Alberti
Giovanni Alberti
Scipione Pulzone
Avanzino Nucci

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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.

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

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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.