Church of San Giovanni Decollato

"Church of San Giovanni Decollato" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Saturday 2nd July 2011

The Church of San Giovanni Decollato (Chiesa di S.Giovanni Decollato) construction was begun over the site of the Chiesa di S.Maria della Fossa (1190) in 1488 by the Arch-confraternity of S.Giovanni Decollato, named of Misericordia, and finished in 1504. The Arch-confraternity was composed of Florentines, who's goal was to assist the people condemned to death, numerous in that epoch. The famous members of the Arch-confraternity were Michelangelo, St.Roberto Bellarmino and different popes and cardinals. In 1540 it obtained a privilege to set free one of the condemned every year on August 29, a day when the head of St John Baptist was found.

Church of San Giovanni Decollato, Via di San Giovanni Decollato
The San Giovanni Decollato church (also called San Giovanni Battista Decollato or San Giovanni della Misericordia) has a nave and side chapels with fine 16th-18th centuries stucco and fresco decoration and a wooden ceiling. On the High Altar is a painting by G.Vasari (1553) with "Decapitation of St John Baptist". On the other altars there are paintings of Pomarancio and G.Vasari. There is also an oratory for the members of confraternity realized in 1530-1535 which walls are decorated with the cycle "Stories of Baptist" by J.del Conte, F.Salviati and P.Ligorio. On the altar is a "Deposition" by J.Del Conte (1550).

The interior has a single nave and is harmonically divided by adorned Dorian pilaster, which reach the bottom of the coffered ceiling and include three arcades per side with altars in niche. On the floor are the tombs of executed people and tombstones. A group of stone stilophorus lions support a pagan sarcophagus with hunting scenes. The oratory is decorated with frescoes that depict St John's life. As for style, the figures are similar to those of the Sistine Chapel.

In the adjoining cloister (1555) is a portico executed in Florentine Renaissance style. In the center is a garden. Beneath it were seven (six for men, and one for women) common graves where the sentenced to death were buried. There is also an interesting archive and a museum dedicated to the activity of confraternity.

Church of San Giovanni Decollato
Via di San Giovanni Decollato, 22
00186 , Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ripa (Circo Massimo-Bocca Verità-Aventino) (Roma centro)
Church of San Giovanni Decollato is Shown By "Map K Zone" As "44"
Contact: To book the visit, call on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10.30am to 12.00am at 06 69 90 728. The tour is free and includes the oratory.

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