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 & 14:30-18:30
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.

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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Getting Around

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.

Most buses and metros do get crowded and tickets must be bought before boarding and validated when you first get on but it is a great way to get around and see Rome if you are short on time or suffer from sore feet.

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

Bus #75 takes you past the Colosseum

Bus #910 takes you to Villa Borghese

#64 & #40 Express Bus


Piazza Venezia

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Campo de'Fiori

St. Peter's

The Electric buses that are around Rome can travel into the older parts of the city and wind around the narrow streets. Bus #116 travels though the streets of Centro Storico.

Ticket Options

B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro,tram or bus ride for a 100 minute period.

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

B.T.I (Turistic) is a 3 day tourist ticket and the same as B.I.G but for more days of travel.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

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

Large fines apply to travelers not holding ticket. Tickets once they are 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.