Friday, April 20, 2018


Begun in 1572 by Jacopo Barozzi aka Vignola (1507/73) for the Confraternity of the Palafrenieri (Grooms)
Finished in 1583 after his death by his son Giacinto Barozzi (about 1535-40/after 1584)
It was the first church in Rome to have an elliptical plan
It was the church of the palafrenieri (grooms) or the papal sediari (carriers of the papal chair), people that supported the gestatorial chair of the pope and accompanied the pope's carriage
In 1929, following the Conciliation between the Italian state and the church, S. Anna became the parish church of the Vatican and Pius XI Ratti (1922/39) assigned it to the Swiss Guards, designating for the palafrenieri the church of S. Caterina della Rota
1700/31 Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729), who also added the portal, the balustrade and the bell towers
1763 by Giovanni Domenico Navone (active since 1706/d. 1770)
Above the doors stucco panels 1746 by G.B. De Rossi
“Plaque in memory of the Marquis Del Grillo Onofrio (1714/87)”
He was an eccentric character famous for his practical jokes, a member of the palafrenieri and immortalized in the great 1981 film Il Marchese del Grillo directed by Mario Monicelli with the comedian Alberto Sordi. His tomb is in the church of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
Four frescoes “Scenes from the life of St. Anna” by Ignazio Stern (1679/1748)
“S. Anna and the Virgin Mary girl” 1927 copy by Arturo Viligiardi (1869/1936) from an original by Alessandro Franchi
Outside to the left of the church there is the unknown but extraordinary FOUNTAIN OF THE BEES by Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) who had also prepared a project for the façade of the church
To the right of the church S. ANNA's GATE 1931 by Giuseppe Momo (1875/1940)
It is the church of the SWISS GUARDS in Vatican territory
The Swiss Guards are currently 110 and are at the service of the pope since 1506
During the sack of Rome in 1527 they saved the life of Clement VII Medici (1523/34): 147 died and only 42 survived, escaping with the pope in Castel Sant'Angelo
To be admitted to the corps one must be male, have Swiss citizenship, be of Catholic faith, have served in the Swiss army obtaining a certificate of good conduct, be between 18 and 30 years of age, have minimum height of 174 cm (5.7 feet), being unmarried (marriage is only permitted for corporals and higher ranks), have a certificate of professional capacity or high school diploma and be ready for a minimum service of 25 months

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