Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Built in the eighth century over a previous building of the fourth century dedicated to St. Boniface
The name of Alexius, Roman saint of the fifth century, was added in the year 977 when some monks arrived from Damascus in the monastery attached to the church
The real name of the church is Ss. BONIFACIO E ALESSIO (Sts. Boniface and Alexius)
Rebuilt in 1217 (also the belfry) by Honorius III Savelli (1216/27)
Restored in 1582
Renovated in 1750 (also the façade) by Tommaso De Marchis (1693/1759) who was also the architect of Palazzo Mellini on Via del Corso
Restored 1852/60 for the Somaschi Fathers
Under the church there is archaeological evidence including an ancient well, perhaps belonging to the house of Senator Eufimiano father of St. Alexius
“Tomb of Eleonora Boncompagni Borghese” 1693 by G.B. Contini (1641/1723) with sculptures by Andrea Fucigna (about 1660/1711)
“Icon of the Virgin Mary” thirteenth century, believed to have been brought here by St. Alexius himself
“Evangelists, Redeemer, and two angels” 1860 by Carlo Gavardini (1811/69)
These paintings were not very successful at the time, for their character “too gay”, not suitable for the church
Two little columns dating back to 1217. The one on the right is by Jacopo di Lorenzo di Cosma (first half of XIII century)
It is the only Romanesque crypt in Rome with canopy underneath which the relics of Thomas of Canterbury are kept
Frescoes XII/XIII century
“Column” believed the one of the martyrdom of St. Sebastian
“S. Girolamo Emiliani introducing orphans to the Virgin Mary” end of 1600s/beginning of 1700s by Jean François de Troy (1679/1752)
De Troy was one of many French artists who worked in Rome in the first half of the eighteenth century and became part of the Roman art scene to such an extent as to become the prince of the Roman Academy of St. Luke in 1744
“By accepting a wide variety of jobs, not only for portraits, but also for religious and mythological compositions, De Troy became famous for his 'tableaux de mode', genre scenes inspired by the worldly and elegant salons he used to attend. (...) While conducting a brilliant social life, he continued his work as a painter creating such cards upholstery for the King of France, the altarpieces for the churches of Rome or smaller works for collectors” (Stéphane Loire)
“S. Girolamo Emiliani praying the Virgin Mary” 1860 by Carlo Gavardini (1811/69)
Scenic baroque machinery in stucco and wood “Holy Stairs and St. Alexius” by Andrea Bergondi (active in Rome XVIII century) which houses the wooden staircase believed to be the one under which St. Alexius lived for seventeen years of his father's charity without ever being recognized
In the convent since 1941 there is the NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ROMAN STUDIES library with about 25,000 books about history, literature, archeology and urban planning in Rome

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