Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona

"Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Saturday 11th June 2011

The owner of this Chiesa di S.Agnese in Agone (Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone) is the Pamphili family, because first it was conceived as a chapel of their palace with the inner entrance. It was begun by Girolamo and Carlo Rainaldi in 1652 and was continued by Borromini, who created the concave facade, the dome and bell-towers (1653-1657).

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Interior is on a Greek-cross plan and has four open altars and gives a sensation of the big space, emphasized by the ample and high dome. To the painting decorations were preferred the sculptural ones, that made the church a gallery of 17th century sculpture.
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The altar pieces are by Francesco Rossi, E.Ferrata, D.Guidi and others. the statue of St Agnes is by Ferrata; the statue of S.Sebastiano is by Pier Paolo Campi. The plumes of the dome are by Baciccia, and the vault is by C.Ferri.

Above the entrance is the monument by G.B.Maini (1730) of Innocent X, who is buried here together with the other members of the family in the crypt on the left of High Altar.

Beneath the church there are ruins of the stadium which Christian tradition marks as the spot where St Agnes was exposed. Now an Oratory, built before 800, containing an altar with a fine marble relief "S.Agnese trascinata al martirio" by A.Algardi could be found over there.
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The twin bell-towers were carried out by Antonio del Grande and Giovanni Maria Baratta, according to a plan by Borromini. The inside, by Rainaldi, saves the Greek cross plan and hosts splendid golden and marbles works by Borromini. The dome, surmounted by eight columns, was frescoed by Ciro Ferri helped by Baciccia. In the underground one can admire the ruins of the Circo di Domiziano, the mosaic floors and splendid medieval works on the walls.

The name of this church is unrelated to the ‘agony’ of the martyr: in agone was the ancient name of Piazza Navona (piazza in agone), and meant instead, from the Greek, ‘in the site of the competitions’, because Piazza Navona was built on the form of an ancient Roman stadium on the Greek model, with one flat end, and was used for footraces. From ‘in agone’, the popular use and pronunciation changed the name into ‘Navona’, but other roads in the area kept the original name.

Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona - Via S.Maria dell’Anima, 30/A
Facing onto the Piazza Navona
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Parione (Navona-Campo de' Fiori) (Roma centro)
Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona is Shown By "Map H Zone" As "56"
Bus: 70 - 81 - 87 - 116 - 116T - 186 - 204 - 492 - 628
Hours: Weekdays: 9.30am-12.30pm 03.30pm-07.00pm. Holidays: 10.00am-01.00pm 04.00pm-07.00pm. Monday Colsed. Holidays: 12:15 to 19:00. Before holidays: 19.00.
Telephone: 0039 06 68192134 - 06 3292326

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