Thursday, October 25, 2018

San Silvestro al Quirinale

where: Via XXIV Maggio, 10/ near Piazza del Quirinale
open: weekends  9:30-12:00 &15:00-18:00
getting there: bus #64 Quirinale/Nazionale stop

San Silvestro al Quirinale is a 16th century Baroque church dedicated to a 4th century pope – Saint Sylvester.

The entry to the church is by a door in the building on the left and not through the church door itself. Climb the imposing two flights of stairs until you come to the true entrance which opens onto the left hand side of the nave. You will then find yourself in a beautifully decorated space filled with paintings, frescoes and marbles from the late Renaissance and Mannerist periods.

As the church was close-by to the Quirinale Palace it became a popular place of worship for the papacy during the times when a pope resided there. Many cardinals and church members financed the decorations inside.

The Sanctuary vault was sumptuously decorated in 1601 with cherubs by brothers Giovanni and Cherubino Alberti, included are the coats of arms of popes Pius V and Clement VIII.

The first chapel right (Chapel of Saint Sylvester), holds an altarpiece, Pope Sylvester Baptizing the Emperor Constantine (1610) by Avanzino Nucci.
The second chapel right, has an icon of the Madonna della Catena from the 13th century which is surrounded by a painting showing Pope Pius V and Cardinal Carafa in prayer by Giacinto Gimignani (1646), the side wall 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.
At the left of the Sanctuary is the octagonal Capella Bandini. The very large altarpiece of The Assumption of Mary is by Scipione Pulzone. The stucco work in the chapel is by Alessandro Algardi and the four oval pentendives are by Domenichino.

The church doesn't seem to be open very often, but if you happen to walk past and the 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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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