Sunday, September 21, 2014

Caravaggio...a walking tour

San Luigi dei Francesi
It isn't necessary to pay lots of euros visiting all the museums and galleries around Rome in search of artworks by Caravaggio, when you can take a walking tour to see inside the churches that hold his paintings for free.
It is a good idea to start your walking tour early as most churches have a closing period that usually begins around noon and lasts for a few hours until the early evening.

Start at the French church of  San Luigi dei Francesi, which is not far from Piazza Navona and see Caravaggio's earliest commissions from 1599 for the Contarelli Chapel. Caravaggio painted three paintings for the chapel, the Vocation of Saint Matthew, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Saint Matthew and the Angel. The chapel, which is close to the main altar, is a little dark and it is worthwhile donating a coin in the box in the front to illuminate the paintings and see them in more detail.

The next church is the quiet basilica of Sant'Agostino off the Via del Scrofa and nearby Piazza Navona. Here you can visit the beautiful Madonna dei Pellegrini which was commissioned in 1604 by Ermete Cavalletti for his family chapel.
Once again you can light the chapel with a coin...or wait until someone else does.

Madonna dei Pellegrini

At the Piazza del Popolo and in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo you will find two paintings, the Conversion of Saint Paul and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter, both completed between 1600 and 1601 by Caravaggio. They are situated in the Cappella Cerasi, which is the chapel on the left of the high altar and although the chapel is a little dark it also can be lit by putting a coin in the coin-box.

the Conversion of Saul
Santa Maria del Popolo

Caravaggio's art can also be found in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Galleria Borghese, the Vatican Museums, the Capitoline Museums and the Galleria Corsini.

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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