"Borromini’s Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri (Oratorio dei Filippini del Borromini)/ Sala Borromini" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Tuesday 7th June 2011
The great architectural complex created by Borromini on the side of Chiesa Nuova includes Oratory and a convent with the library. The Borromini’s Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri (Oratorio dei Filippini del Borromini) is a building located in Rome and erected between 1637 and 1650 by Francesco Borromini. He belonged to the Congregation of the Oratory, founded by Philip Neri in 1561. The complex of the palazzo dei Filippini comprises the convent and the oratory and occupies a vast area between piazza della Chiesa Nuova, via dei Filippini, piazza dell'Orologio, via del Governo Vecchio and via della Chiesa Nuova. The building adjoining the Chiesa Nuova was built between 1637 and 1662 to house the assemblies of the Congregation of the Oratory where laity and clergy met under the spirtual direction of St Philip Neri. In front of the two sides was a small closed square, now integrated in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.
In the oratory St Philip Neri instituted the musical gatherings which became known as oratorios, and have given their name to a form of musical composition. It was largely rebuilt by Borromini in 1637-1667. The facade, between that of a church and a palace, has a remarkably subtle design. The delightful clock-tower can be seen from Via dei Banchi Nuovi. The extensive convent buildings are now occupied by the Vallicelliana Library, the Municipal Archives, Biblioteca del Popolo Romano (the greatest collection of works about history and life of Rome), and various learned societies.
The facade overlooking Piazza della Chiesa Nuova is in fact the side elevation of the Oratory. It was designed by Borromini so as to form a unit with the church. It is monumental and yet subtle, being an interaction of calm and frenzied movement in line and detail so characteristic of this great Baroque architect.
Borromini was appointed “house architect" working in the so-called room of St. Filippo Neri, rebuilt and decorated inside the convent (1638). Later, he occupied himself with the construction of the oratorio, overcoming a series of technical difficulties that ensued from the anticipated site next lo the church. These difficulties were brilliantly resolved by the architect who was awarded the commission, making a facade scanned by the asymmetry of the windows.
The facade is composed of two order: the central section undulates with contrasting curves, convex on the lower floor and concave on the upper. The complete design combines recessed windows at ground floor level and a slightly concave pediment in the upper section. Nowadays the Oratory is also knows as Sala Borromini and is used for conferences and various cultural activities. In addition to the Oratory priests the vast palace also houses the Biblioteca Vallicelliana, the Biblioteca di Roma, the archives of the city of Rome, which include a collection of Roman newspapers and various cultural institutes.
The Biblioteca Vallicelliana was created by St Philip in 1581 based on the books of the saint and Achille Estazio. It was the first Roman Library open to public. It possesses more than 150,000 volumes, 150 newspapers and magazines published at the moment and some precious manuscripts.
PLEASE NOTE: The Oratory is closed until further notice.
Borromini’s Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri (Oratorio dei Filippini del Borromini)
Piazza della Chiesa Nuova, 18
Via di Parione 33 (Via del Governo Vecchio, 134)
Adjacent to the Chiesa Nuova on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ponte (Via Coronari-Ponte Vittorio) (Roma centro)
Borromini’s Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri (Oratorio dei Filippini del Borromini) is Shown By "Map H Zone" As "36"
Buses: 40, 46, 62, 64, 190, 571 and 916 (bus stop "Chiesa Nuova")
Tel. +39 06 6892537; +39 335 5247558
Website: http://www.oratoriosanfilippo.org/ and http://www.vallicella.org/inglese.html