Friday, June 10, 2016

San Luigi dei Francesi

where: Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi 5
open: Monday to Friday 9:30-12:45 & 14:30-18:30, Saturday 9:30-12:15 & 14:30-18:45,        Sunday 11:30-12:45 & 14:30-18:45
getting there: off Corso del Rinascimento near the Piazza Navona, and Via di Salvatore to Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi
information: take coins to light up the Contarelli Chapel, flash photography prohibited

The church of San Luigi dei Francesi was one of the first churches that I ever visited in Rome and one I always return to because inside is one of the most beautiful chapels, the Contarelli Chapel, with three of Caravaggio's masterpiece canvases.
Painted between 1599 and 1600 the Baroque cycle shows scenes from the bible of Jesus calling Matthew to follow him, the angel inspiring him, and finally his martyrdom (Vocation of St MatthewSt Matthew and the Angel, the Martyrdom of St Matthew).

The church website only mentions Caravaggio's paintings, but in second chapel on the right hand side of the church are Domenichino's frescoes of the Life of St Cecilia and the copy of Raphael's St Cecilia over the altar by Guido Reni.
The ceiling frescoes decorating the Contarelli Chapel are by Giuseppe Cesari.
On the left, in the third chapel dedicated to St Louis, is work by the female Baroque architect and artist, Plautilla Bricci and a painting by Ludivico Gimignani.
At the high altar is the 16th century Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Bassano the Younger.
The nave ceiling by Charles-Joseph Natoire dates from the 18th century.


Giovanni Baglione


Artists in San Luigi dei Francesi
Girolamo Muziano
Charles-Joseph Natiore
Baldassare Croce
Plutilla Bricci
Francesco Bassano the Younger
Reynaud Levieux
Pellegrino Tibaldi

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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