Hidden Art Treasures in Rome (Self Guided), Rome

Traveling in any city as large and popular as Rome can be very expensive. And many of Rome’s best museums have hefty entry fees, which can add up. But a surprising number of Rome’s must see sites and hidden gems are completely free, if you’re traveling on a budget. Rome is essentially a living museum with art sprinkled everywhere. ***PH***
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Hidden Art Treasures in Rome Map

Guide Name: Hidden Art Treasures in Rome
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Saint Mary of Peace Church
  • Basilica of St. Augustine
  • Church of St. Louis of the French
  • Elephant and Obelisk Statue
  • Santa Maria sopra Minerva Church
  • Basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte
  • Church of the Most Holy Trinity on the Mounts
  • Santa Maria del Popolo Chucrh and Cerasi Chapel
Saint Mary of Peace Church

1) Saint Mary of Peace Church

Santa Maria della Pace is a church in Rome, not far from Piazza Navona. The current building was built on the foundations of the pre-existing church of Sant'Andrea de Aquarizariis in 1482, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. The church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary to remember a miraculous bleeding of a Madonna image there in 1480. The author of the original design is not known, though Baccio Pontelli has been proposed.

The interior, which can be reached from the original fifteenth-century door, has a short nave with cruciform vaulting and a tribune surmounted by a cupola. Cortona articulated the interior of the dome with octagonal coffering and a series of ribs radiating from the lantern. This is an early example of combining these two forms of dome decoration and was employed by Gianlorenzo Bernini in his later churches at Ariccia and Castelgandolfo.

Carlo Maderno designed the high altar (1614) to enframe the venerable icon of the Madonna and Child.

The first nave chapel on the right-hand side is the Capella Chigi. Raphael began to fresco the Sibyls receiving angelic instruction (1514) above the arch of the Chigi Chapel, commissioned by Agostino Chigi, the papal banker. The Deposition over the altar is by Cosimo Fancelli.

The second chapel on the right, the Cesi Chapel, was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, and has a very fine Renaissance decoration on the external arch by Simone Mosca, as well as two small frescoes, the Creation of Eve and the Original Sin by Rosso Fiorentino.

The first chapel on the left (Ponzetti Chapel) has noteworthy Renaissance frescoes by Baldassarre Peruzzi, who is better known as an architect. The second chapel has marble taken from the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.

The tribune has paintings by Carlo Maratta, Peruzzi, Orazio Gentileschi, Francesco Albani and others.

A main feature of the church and monastery complex is the Bramante cloister. Built in 1500–1504 for Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, it was the first work of Donato Bramante in the city. It has two levels: the first is articulated by shallow pilasters set against an arcade; the second also has pilasters set against an arcade which is vertically continuous with the lower storey, but with columns located in between each arch span.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Basilica of St. Augustine

2) Basilica of St. Augustine

The Basilica of St. Augustine in Campo Marzio (Italian: Basilica di Sant'Agostino in Campo Marzio), commonly known as Basilica of St. Augustine and locally as Sant'Agostino, is a Roman Catholic titular minor basilica dedicated to Saint Augustine of Hippo in Rome.

First conceived in 1286, where a primitive 8th-century church dedicated to St. Tryphon of Campsada was located, the basilica is known for its roman renaissance architecture style, artwork by artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Guercino and Bernini, and for being the burial place of Saint Monica (d. 387), mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

Among the most prominent paintings in the church is an early Baroque painting by Caravaggio: the altarpiece for the Cavalletti chapel (first chapel on the left), depicting the Madonna di Loreto.

The church also contains a Guercino canvas of Saints Augustine, John the Evangelist and Jerome; a fresco of the Prophet Isaiah by Raphael on the third pilaster of the left nave; and the statue of Saint Anne and Virgin with Child, by Andrea Sansovino.

The sculpture of the Madonna del Parto (Our Lady of Childbirth) by Jacopo Sansovino based, according to a legend, on an ancient statue of Agrippina holding Nero in her arms, is reputed by tradition to work miracles in childbirth. The statue is laden with thank-offerings and always surrounded by offerings of flowers and candles.

In 1616, the 17th-century Baroque artist Giovanni Lanfranco decorated the Buongiovanni Chapel (in the left transept) with three canvases and a ceiling fresco of the Assumption.

The church also houses Melchiorre Caffà's sculpture "St Thomas of Villanova Distributing Alms", completed by his mentor Ercole Ferrata.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Louis of the French

3) Church of St. Louis of the French

The Church of St. Louis of the French (Italian: San Luigi dei Francesi) is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, not far from Piazza Navona. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to St. Denis the Areopagite and St. Louis IX, king of France. The church was designed by Giacomo della Porta and built by Domenico Fontana between 1518 and 1589, and completed through the personal intervention of Catherine de' Medici, who donated to it some property in the area. It is the national church in Rome of France. The current Cardinal-Priest of the title is André Vingt-Trois, former Archbishop of Paris.

Giacomo della Porta made the façade as a piece of decorative work entirely independent of the body of the structure, a method much copied later. The French character is evident from the façade itself, which has several statues recalling national history: these include Charlemagne, St. Louis, St. Clothilde and St. Jeanne of Valois. The interior also has frescoes by Charles-Joseph Natoire recounting stories of Saint Louis IX, Saint Denis and Clovis.

Contarelli Chapel contains a cycle of paintings by the Baroque master Caravaggio in 1599–1600 about the life of St. Matthew. This includes the three world-renowned canvases of The Calling of St Matthew (on the left wall), The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (above the altar), and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (on the right wall).

The Polet Chapel contains frescoes by Domenichino portraying the Histories of Saint Cecilia.

Other works in the church include pieces by Cavalier D'Arpino, Francesco Bassano il Giovane, Muziano, Giovanni Baglione, Siciolante da Sermoneta, Jacopino del Conte, Tibaldi and Antoine Derizet.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Elephant and Obelisk Statue

4) Elephant and Obelisk Statue

lephant and Obelisk is a statue of an elephant carrying an obelisk, designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It was unveiled in 1667 in the Piazza della Minerva in Rome, adjacent to the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where it stands today.

The red granite obelisk was discovered in 1665 during excavations near the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. It had probably been brought to Rome in the first century AD for the temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis that was located there. The obelisk was originally erected by Pharaoh Apries of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt, about 580 BC, in his capital Sais.

The obelisk is 5.47 meters tall and is the smallest of the 13 ancient obelisks present in Rome nowadays. Together with pedestal and elephant, the statue stands 12.69 meters tall. The obelisk is considered to be one of a pair, the other is in Urbino.

Various preparatory drawings done by Bernini for the elephant statue exist. One version in Windsor Castle, UK was probably done in the 1630s when Cardinal Francesco Barberini wished to place an Egyptian obelisk in front of his family palace, the Palazzo Barberini. Nothing came of this specific project, but Bernini revived the idea in the 1660s, when Pope Alexander VII, Fabio Chigi, wished to build a similar monument after another Egyptian obelisk had been discovered in Rome.

The marble elephant was probably carved by Bernini's assistant Ercole Ferrata. The statue turned out to be the last commission Pope Alexander VII would ask of Bernini, as the pope died in May 1667.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria sopra Minerva Church

5) Santa Maria sopra Minerva Church

Situated just behind the Pantheon, the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, is more than just a temple but a true hidden gem packed full of art. The former Roman headquarters of the Dominican order, if there is only one thing in particular this church is worth visiting for, it is the Michelangelo's statue Cristo della Minerva and the late 15th-century (1488–93) cycle of frescos in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi.

The Cristo della Minerva, also known as Christ the Redeemer or Christ Carrying the Cross, is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, finished in 1521, located to the left of the main altar.

The basilica also houses many funerary monuments including the tombs of Doctor of the Church Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic; the Dominican friar Blessed John of Fiesole (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, born Guido di Piero) better known as Fra Angelico (c. 1395–1455); and ornate monuments to the Medici Popes: Leo X (born Giovanni de Medici, c. 1475–1521) and Clement VII (born Giulio de Medici, c. 1478–1534), designed by Baccio Bandinelli.

While many other medieval churches in Rome have got Baroque makeovers, covering their Gothic features, the Minerva church has survived pretty much unscathed in its original guise. There are several magnificent stained glass roundels above the nave, richly colored in red, green, blue and gold, producing the appearance of bursting fireworks. Above the main door, there is a lovely roundel of Mary surrounded by saints. This could easily be the best stained glass in all of Rome. As for the ceiling, it is painted deep blue with golden stars, just like the night sky.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm; Sat: 10am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm; Sun: 8:10am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm
Free admission
Basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte

6) Basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte

The basilica of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte is a Catholic place of worship in the historic center of Rome. The church was elevated to the dignity of a minor basilica by Pope Pius XII on April 25, 1942. It is also called the sanctuary of the Madonna del Miracolo, because inside it the French lawyer (and later presbyter ) of Jewish origin Alphonse Marie Ratisbonne , allegedly had a Marian apparition on January 20, 1842 . The fact, recognized by the Catholic Church , led to Ratisbonne's conversion to Catholicism.

The church, which already existed in the 11th century , was rebuilt in Baroque style on a project by Francesco Borromini , between 1653 and 1658 (the facade was only built in 1862 ). The name derives from its location, near Piazza di Spagna , once on the outskirts of the town, where there were trees and bushes.

The church has a structure with a Latin cross plan , with a transept and a deep apse. The hall has a single nave along which there are three chapels on each side. The richly decorated interior contains various works by artists of the 17th and 18th centuries , including Francesco Cozza , Francesco Queirolo , Giovanni Battista Maini , Giuseppe Bottani , Paolo Posi , Pietro Bracci .

The two altars in the transept are the work of Luigi Vanvitelli (left) and Filippo Barigioni (right). In the presbytery there are paintings by various artists, including the Martyrdom of Sant'Andrea by Lazzaro Baldi .

One of the prominent elements of the church furnishings are the two monumental statues with Angels with the symbols of the Passion , the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini , initially sculpted (commissioned by Clement IX ) for the series of the Via Crucis of Ponte Sant'Angelo together to other works of students, they were considered too beautiful to be exposed to the elements and were donated to the sculptor. In 1729 the heirs of Gian Lorenzo Bernini , who lived in a building not far away, donated the two angels to the church, which thus found itself a ground for confrontation between the two greatest geniuses of the Baroque .
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of the Most Holy Trinity on the Mounts

7) Church of the Most Holy Trinity on the Mounts

The church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, often called merely the Trinità dei Monti (French: La Trinité-des-Monts), is a Roman Catholic late Renaissance titular church in Rome, central Italy. It is best known for its position above the Spanish Steps which lead down to the famous Piazza di Spagna. The church and its surrounding area (including the Villa Medici) are a French State property.

In 1494, Saint Francis of Paola, a hermit from Calabria, bought a vineyard from the papal scholar and former patriarch of Aquileia, Ermolao Barbaro, and then obtained the authorization from Pope Alexander VI to establish a monastery for the Minimite Friars. In 1502, Louis XII of France began construction of the church of the Trinità dei Monti next to this monastery, to celebrate his successful invasion of Naples.

The present Italian Renaissance church was eventually built in its place and finally consecrated in 1585 by the great urbanizer Pope Sixtus. In front of the church stands the Obelisco Sallustiano, one of the many obelisks in Rome, moved here in 1789. The inscriptions found in Santissima Trinità dei Monti, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella.

In the first chapel to the right is a Baptism of Christ and other scenes of the life of John the Baptist by the Florentine Mannerist painter Giambattista Naldini. In the third chapel on the right is an Assumption of the Virgin by a pupil of Michelangelo, Daniele da Volterra (the last figure on the right is said to be a portrait of Michelangelo). In the fourth chapel, the Cappella Orsini, are scenes of the Passion of Christ by Paris Nogari and the funeral monument of Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi by Leonardo Sormani. In a chapel near the high altar is a canvas of the Crucifixion painted by Cesare Nebbia.

In the Cappella Pucci, on the left, are frescoes (1537) by Perino del Vaga finished by Federico and Taddeo Zuccari in 1589. The second chapel on the left has a well-known canvas of the Deposition in grisaille, by Daniele da Volterra, which imitates in trompe-l'œil a work of sculpture; flanking it are frescoes by Pablo de Céspedes and Cesare Arbasia. The first chapel on the left has frescoes by Nebbia. In the sacristy anteroom are more frescoes by Taddeo Zuccari: a Coronation of the Virgin, an Annunciation, and a Visitation.

In a niche along a corridor that opens onto the cloister, is the fresco (reputed to be miraculous) of the Mater Admirabilis, depicting the Virgin Mary, painted by Pauline Perdreau, a young French girl, in 1844.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria del Popolo Chucrh and Cerasi Chapel

8) Santa Maria del Popolo Chucrh and Cerasi Chapel

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is a famous church in Rome situated on the site of a walnut tree that was believed to have attracted demons and ghosts. The current Baroque look of the church emerged in the 17th century following the renovation by Bernini. After his intervention, the church became a favorite burial place for the rich people of the city. The church is hemmed in between Porta del Popolo (the ancient Porta Flaminia) and the Pincio hill. It also contains works by several famous artists such as Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Alessandro Algardi, etc.

It stands on the north side of Piazza del Popolo, one of the most famous squares in the city. The name del Popolo ("of the people") probably derives from its funding by the people of Rome, but some sources say it comes from the Latin word "populus", meaning poplar and referring to a tree located nearby. The chapel was enlarged and became a church by will of Pope Gregory IX in 1235, and was given to the Augustinian friars, who still oversee it, in 1250.

The Cerasi Chapel or Chapel of the Assumption (Italian: Cappella Cerasi, Cappella dell'Assunta) is one of the side chapels in the left transept of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. It contains significant paintings by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Annibale Carracci, two of the most important masters of Italian Baroque art, dating from 1600–1601.

Caravaggio's dramatically lit and foreshortened paintings are intended to be viewed from the side rather than straight-on, and draw the eye to Carracci's frontally presented Assumption, so that the chapel is aesthetically united despite the very different styles of the two artists. According to Steinberg the light on the Caravaggio paintings comes from the painted heaven on the vault of the anteroom, inhabited by the dove of the Holy Spirit.

The chapel is decorated in exuberant Baroque style. The frescos on the short barrel-vault of the chancel depict the Coronation of the Virgin (central medaillon) and the visions of Sts Peter and Paul, Domine quo vadis and Saint Paul Transported to the Third Heaven (side panels), both set in rich gilded stucco frames. The frame of the central medaillon is held by four stucco putti. The paintings were executed by Innocenzo Tacconi, an able assistant of Annibale Carracci, and at least the coronation scene was designed by Carracci himself.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful baroque church, with some masterpieces (paintings by Caravaggio, Innocenzo Tacconi and Carracci among others).

Outside, in the piazza, make sure not to miss the sculpture of Neptune with his trident. Additionally, the Museo Leonardo da Vinci features a number of Leonardo's inventions built to scale, some of which can be operated by the public.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 7:15am-12:30pm / 4pm-7pm; Fri-Sat: 9am-10pm / 2pm-6:30pm; Sun: 9am-10pm / 4:30pm-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

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