Saturday, March 23, 2019


The first mention of the church in the sources dates back to 1192
The name derives from the name of the neighboring tenth region of Augustus, the Capitolium
Restored and re-consecrated in 1216 by Honorius III Savelli (1216/27)
Rebuilt in the years 1619/48 on the current location with a different orientation: the façade of the first church overlooked Piazza Lovatelli
It was rebuilt again by the will of Alexander VII Chigi (1655/67) as a vow after the plague of 1656
Begun in 1662, opened incomplete in 1667. It is the masterpiece of Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91) who designed the FAÇADE as well
It was consecrated only in 1728
“Carlo Rainaldi after his father's death in 1655, developed an independent and grandiose style as it combines stylistic elements of the late sixteenth century and Baroque ones. The receding surface of the façade confined by the pillars shows influences from Pietro da Cortona (Sts. Luke and Martina), while the theme of the double aedicula on the two levels is common in northern Italy. In addition, the abundant use of columns, typical of the Roman style, with the projecting pediments adds volume to the structure punctuated by dramatic luministic variations. Inside, the visitor's gaze, driven by the progression of the free-standing columns and by the rhythm of the arches decorated in gold, goes up to the domed sanctuary at the back of the church” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“One of the most interesting and significant of the seventeenth century in Rome. In this façade Rainaldi, elaborating the style of the churches of the sixteenth century (e.g. the church of S. Susanna by Carlo Maderno), articulates the plain structure, assimilating it to the most original and complex linguistic research of the period. He uses, in fact, a double Corinthian order that he inserts, alternatively, both inside and outside of the building mass, as if to replicate a sophisticated operation of excavation: a solution, in fact, aimed at determining the presence of composition on three levels. This complexity is also to be found in the design of the interior space, visible in the assembly of three independent architectural units, detectable in the layout” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Monument to Francesco Nardi” of the early nineteenth century

Above the altar “St. Michael banishes the devil” by Sebastiano Conca (1680/1764)
The painting was designed for the church of St. Eustace and it was moved here in 1738

Designed by Carlo Rainaldi with stucco decorations by Michel Maille aka Michele Maglia (active in Rome in the second half of the seventeenth century), Lorenzo Ottoni (1648/1736), Francesco Cavallini (active 1672/1703) and Francesco Baratta (about 1590/about 1663)
Above the altar “St. Anna, Joachim and Mary” 1685 by the Neapolitan Luca Giordano (1634/1705)
“After attending the studio of Jusepe de Ribera, only thirteen years old, in 1645, he went to Rome, where, after having exercised copying from the great masters, especially the careful study of the works of Raphael, Michelangelo, the Carraccis and Polidoro da Caravaggio, he collaborated with Pietro da Cortona. He visited Bologna, Parma and Venice (...). In Florence (1684/86) he decorated the ceiling of the hall of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi; in Spain (1692/1702), where he was called by Charles II, he painted at the Escorial, at the Royal Palace of Madrid, in the Cathedral of Toledo. In 1702 he returned to Naples passing for Genoa (he worked in Palazzo Balbi, later Palazzo Reale). The last among its great projects is the fresco paintings in the Chapel of the Treasury in S. Martino in Naples (1704). We also want to mention the destroyed the frescoes of the church in the Abbey of Monte Cassino (1667 and 1691). (...) In his works there was a range of interpretation and a pictorial gusto that marks the transition from the Baroque to the Rococo style. He was also known by the nickname of Luca Fapresto (Luca hurry up!), from his father's exhortations to work” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
Vault “Glory of St. Anna” maybe by Giovanni Coli (1636/81) and Filippo Gherardi (1643/1704) or, less likely, by Michelangelo Ricciolini (1654/1715)
On the left there is a cast of the Altar of Apollo whose original, now in the church of S. Galla, was used as an altar in the destroyed church of S. Maria in Portico

Above the altar “Virgin Mary with Sts. John the Baptist and Nicholas” by an unknown artist of the early nineteenth century
In the FOUR SPACES IN CORRESPONDENCE OF THE TWO ARCHES OF THE DOME: discs with reliefs representing the four plants to which the Virgin Mary is compared in the verses of Ecclesiastes: olive, vine, cedar of Lebanon and rose

Above the altar “St. Zita” by an unknown nineteenth-century artist
Tombs of the Vaselli family including ROMOLO VASELLI:
From being a carter he became one of the biggest landowners and builder in Italy, thanks to fascism from which he obtained as a result also the title of Count in exchange for substantial funding
He was president for only three months of the football A.S. Rome, from which he resigned after his three sons toasted publicly after the victory of S.S. Lazio, the team they used to support, in the Rome derby
The son Mario Vaselli was vice president and chief financier of S.S. Lazio in the years 1954/60, during which the team managed to get its first title ever, the Coppa Italia in 1958
The Vasellis were owners of all the land on which later arose the neighborhood of Tor Bella Monaca. All in all it has been calculated they owned the property of about 30,000 apartments in Rome, Ostia and Anzio

“Tomb of Cardinal Bartolomeo Pacca” 1863 by the American Ferdinando Petrich (1798/1872) in Purist style
Bartolomeo Pacca was the mastermind in 1820 of the first protection legislation ever enacted against the indiscriminate export of works of art
At the end of the nave on the right SMALL CHAPEL OF THE RELICS

“Baroque Machinery” 1667 by Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91) maybe designed by the Maltese Melchiorre Caffà (1636/67) or by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616/95) and executed by Ercole Ferrata (1610/86) and Giovanni Paul Schor (1615/74) 
Ercole Ferrata maybe executed faithfully the sculptural model that Melchiorre Caffà had designed in 1667
In the middle picture in foil and enamel “S. Maria in Portico in Campitelli” of the eleventh century known as Salus Populi Romani (Health of the Roman People), or even Romanae Portus Securitatis (Safety of the Port of Rome)
It was originally located in the Portico d'Ottavia and it was worshiped during the plague in the later destroyed church of S. Maria in Portico, hence the official name of the new church of S. MARIA IN PORTICO IN CAMPITELLI (St. Mary at the Portico in Campitelli)


Above the altar “Birth of St. John the Baptist” 1698 by G.B. Gaulli aka Baciccio (1639/1709) formerly in the Altieri Chapel
Underneath “Tomb of Cardinal Massimo Massimi” with bas-relief of Guido Veroi

Designed by Mattia De Rossi (1637/95)
Above the altar “Conversion of St. Paul” about 1685 by Ludovico Gimignani (1643/97)
Vault “Glory of St. Paul” by Michelangelo Ricciolini (1654/1715)
At the sides “Pyramidal tombs of Cardinal Raimondo Capizucchi and of his mother Ortensia Marescotti” by Mattia De Rossi

Designed by G.B. Contini (1641/1723)
Above the altar “Glory of the Blessed Giovanni Leonardi” 1861 by the Roman Marcello Sozzi pupil of Tommaso Minardi, replacing the altar piece by Baciccio which was moved to the area of the dome
The body of the Blessed Giovanni Leonardi, the patron saint of pharmacists, is exposed under the canvas
In the vault fresco “Glory of St. John the Baptist” about 1698 by Ludovico Gimignani
Statues of “Angels” by Giuseppe Mazzuoli (1644/1725)
On top of the frame “Angels” by Lorenzo Ottoni (1648/1736) and Antonio Lavaggi (active in Rome in the second half of the seventeenth century)

About 1698 Sebastiano Cipriani (about 1660/1740)
Marble altarpiece “Holy Family and Ludovica Albertoni” by Lorenzo Ottoni
Vault “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” and “Angels” 1702 by Giuseppe Passeri (1654/1714)
On the left “Tomb of Angelo Altieri” by Giuseppe Mazzuoli with drapery by Michel Maille aka Michele Maglia (active in Rome in the second half of the seventeenth century)
On the right “Tomb of Vittoria Altieri Parabiacchi” by Antonio Lavaggi

“Tomb of Cardinal Giuseppe Bofondi” by Francesco Fabj-Altini (1830/1906)

Designed by Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91)
It was called Sala Baldini (Baldini Hall) by the name of the parish priest who helped and protected many Jewish people during World War II

“Reliquary” of the thirteenth century to house a relic of the wood of the Cross
“Pseudo altarpiece of Gregory Nazianzen” by the aurifex Gregorio executed with the technique of micro-mosaic

To the right of the church
Formerly belonging to the Order of Regular Clerks of the Mother of God, now divided into apartments
External decorations and windows 1724 by Filippo Raguzzini (1680/1771) and Carlo De Dominicis (1696/1758)

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