The Trinita Dei Monti is a titular church of the Roman Catholic faith built during the late Renaissance period. It is located in Rome, Italy and its facade is positioned opposite Piazza di Spagna. The two are linked by the Spanish Steps and the whole setting is one of the greatest architectural works in modern history. The church’s square and that of the Palazzo Barberini are connected by Via Sistina. The church as well as its surroundings is a property of the French government.
The land on which the church is built was a vineyard purchased by St. Francis of Paola in 1494. He sought the approval of Pope Alexander VI so that he could build a convent for friars from the Minimite order. The construction works of the church itself was commissioned in 1502 by King Louis XIII in celebration of his victory after France invaded Naples. The church was built next to the monastery.
The initial works were inspired by the French Gothic style. The project was however slowed down by lack of finances. When construction resumed, the church was completed in Renaissance style. It was consecrated by Pope Sixtus V in 1585. The art and decor of the church was destroyed during Rome’s occupation by Napoleon but it was rehabilitated in 1816 by King Louis XVIII.
The facade of the church is believed to have been designed by a student of Michelangelo. Domenico Fontana built its front double staircase. Allessandro Specchi and Francesco de Sanctis are the minds behind the landmark Spanish Steps. The church has an obelisk of Roman origin on its front, known as Obelisco Sallustiano.
On the right, the first chapel has Naldini’s pieces of John the Baptist and Christ’s Baptism in Mannerist style. The third one has the Virgin’s Assumption by Daniele da Voltera who was a student of Michelangelo. Cappella Orsini, fourth chapel on the right has Passion of Christ scenes done by Nogari and an Italian cardinal’s funeral monument. There’s another chapel next to the main altar with Nebbia’s painting of the Crucifixion.
To the left there is Cappella Pucci with frescoes that were commissioned by the renowned Perino Del Vaga but later completed by Zuccari and Federico. Voltera’s canvas painting depicting the Deposition adorns the second chapel flanked by frescoes by two famous artists. More frescoes by Nebbia adorn the first chapel and Zucarri’s works decorate the anteroom’s sacristy. The dome was frescoed by Perino Del Vaga.
The church is adjoined to the cloister by a corridor and along it is a niche with a painting of the Virgin Mary. It was done by a little girl from France. The dining hall in the convent has Andrea Pozzo’s frescoes. Anamorphic frescoes grace a corridor inside the convent, and its upper rooms are decorated by ruin paintings.
The church was initially patronized by French Kings and remained under the Minimite order until it was destroyed in 1798. It is classified as titulus and is held by French Cardinals. Currently, it is under Cardinal Philippe Barbarin. The responsibility of running the church and its property is entrusted to a community known as Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem.
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