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Church of St. Ignazio – Rome

Rome - St Ignazio - exterior
Rome - St Ignazio - interiorRome - St Ignazio - frescoRome - St Ignazio - dome

The colossal Baroque Church of St. Ignazio is dedicated to the founder of the Society of Jesus: Ignatius of Loyola.

In 1560 the Marchesa della Valle donated an entire city’s block to the Jesuit Order. The Church construction struggled with money shortage since the beginning. Named the Church of the Annunciation was built by Giovanni Tristano, a Jesuit himself, only with Jesuit labour. It became immediately the Chapel of the Roman College. Soon the number of students that attended the College grew and Pope Gregory XV, inspired by the canonization of St. Ignatius, ordered the erection of a new church dedicated to the Saint. The construction started in 1626; the church was opened to the public in 1650 for the Jubilee but the final consecration was celebrated only in 1722.

Things to see

The Church of the Gesu’, the Jesuit mother church, was the model for this building.

A unique feature characterizes this church: as a result of the money shortage the Jesuit hired a painter, Andrea Pozzo, to depict the dome. The artist was able to recreate a perspectival projection in order to give visitors the illusion of a cupola that doesn’t exist. Standing on a marvel disk positioned into the middle of the nave floor it is possible to be fooled and actually believe in the existence of the dome.

Pozzo’s frescoes represent the work of St. Ignatius and his Order.

The chapel located at the south-east corner accommodates the funeral memorial of Pope Gregory XV and Cardinal Ludovisi, st. Ignazio church’s founder.