Church/ Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome

"Church/ Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 29th April 2011

The church grew on the site of a little chapel dedicated to St Paul. The monks Carmelites had the work begun in 1608 by C.Maderno and Filippo Breccioli, who occupied himself with the convent. Here was found a celebrated statue of Hermaphrodite, presented by monks to cardinal Scipione Borghese, who was building his palace (at present Palazzo Rospigliosi) nearby. The cardinal in return ordered G.B.Soria creation of a new facade of the church on his expense in 1626.

Church/ Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
The general construction was finished in 1620 with the name of St Paul. But in the same year the name changed due to a fact that Catholics defeated Protestants at the battle of White Mountain, close to Prague, on November 8, 1620 (Thirty Years War).

On the 15th of October 1996 the restoration of the Cornaro chapel, one of the most famous masterpieces by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, has been inaugurated with a ceremony also with the Presidente della Repubblica, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. The harmonic façade, somehow a repetition of Santa Susanna (by Maderno), is by Gian Battista Sorìa. Characterized by two orders of pilaster strips, in the lower part it has a brief stairway and a portal enriched by side niches. Baroque church, it treasures one of the most beautiful sculptures by Bernini "Estasi di Santa Teresa" (1646), placed in the middle of the Cornaro chapel. The two marble figures, of Santa Teresa and the Angelo, are surrounded by divine light beams materialized into bronze.

The victory was attributed to a miraculous intervention of an image of Madonna, which belonged to a Carmelite priest, a soldier of the Catholic army. The image was brought to Rome and after an exposition in S.Maria Maggiore was transferred to this Carmelite's church of St Paul. Thus, the title changed into S.Maria della Vittoria.

Always due to this event, the church was embellished and from a simple construction was turned in to one of the most complete examples of Baroque decoration in Rome, rich in colour and glowing with marbles. The general project of decoration belonged to M.De Rossi. The vault fresco and paintings of the dome are by Giovan Domenico Cerrini. The presbytery was completely reconstructed on expenses of Alessandro Torlonia in 1880 by Carnevali, after the fire of 1835, which destroyed that part of the church together with the miraculous image of Madonna (it is now substituted with the old copy). The second chapel on the right has an altarpiece of The Madonna and St Francis by Domenichino.
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria at Via 20 Settembre, Rome
The Cappella Cornaro in the left transept is a splendid architectural achievement by G.L.Bernini. It is realized in form of a theatre with the eight members of the family Cornaro watching a kind of sacred representation realized in the niche of the altar: Ecstasy of St Theresa, Bernini's masterpiece.

The fresco, by L.Serra (1885), in the apse of the church, commemorates the triumphal entry into Prague of the Catholic army.

Church/ Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria
Via 20 Settembre, 17
00187, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Castro Pretorio (Porta Pia) (Roma centro)
Church/ Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "79"
Hours: Open 09:00am-12:00pm 03:30pm-07:00pm,
Telephone: 0039 06 42740571
Fax: 0039 06 4825705
Web site:

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