The San Francesco a Ripa Church in Rome gets its name from the nearby Ripa Grande harbor on the river Tiber. There is hardly anything left to be seen of this harbor, but it was a functioning river port until the beginning of the 20th century.
San Francesco a Ripa Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, 88 – Rome (tel +39 06 5819020). Opening hours: 07.00-12.00 and 16.00-19.00; Sundays and holidays 07.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.30. Admission: Free.
History and description
The church was constructed in the 11th century and was later, after a 1229 restoration, dedicated to Franciscus of Assisi, who had lived there in the year 1219. Afterwards it was given to the Capuchin Franciscans (less commonly, but more officially, also known as the Order of Friars Minor).
Before the construction of the Church of San Francesco A Ripa there existed another church, the San Biagio de Curte, with a Benedictine convent, in the same site. This church was part of a hospital.
In Saint Francisco’s chapel a number of the saint’s relics can still be seen, a.o. a crucifix and the stone he used for a pillow. In the middle of the chapel there is a portrait of the saint, made by Margaritone d’Arezzo. This is probably the first portrait ever made in Italy of Saint-Francis.
The present version of the church is the result of a 17th century restoration by Onorio Longhi, who was responsible for the nave and Mattia de Rossi, who redesigned the facade.
The church consists of 3 naves, with 4 chapels on each side.
Between the years 1873 and 1943 the convent, under the name La Marmora, served as a barracks for the Bersaglieri, an army unit that played a big role in Italy’s struggle for unification in 1870.
There is an orange tree in the garden of the convent, which is used to have been planted by Franciscus himself.
Works of art San Francesco a Ripa Church Rome
- The Estasi di Beata Ludovica Albertoni was sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1671 and 1675. Bernini achieved the mystical atmosphere created by his sculpture with the aid of two hidden side windows.
- Pietro Cavallini‘s Francesco cycle was unfortunately destroyed.
- The ionic column in front of the church was taken from the ruins in Veii, an Etruscan city 15km north of ancient Rome. It was placed on the square by Pope Pius IX, in 1847.
- First chapel on the right: Frescoes by Fra Emanuele Da Como. The monument for Michelangelo Ricci is by Domenico Guidi.
- Second chapel on the right: Frescoes with scenes from the life of San Giovanni di Capestrano made by Domenico Maria Muratori (1725).
- Third chapel on the right: Altar piece by Stefano Maria Legnani (1685).
- Transept: The Rospigliosi-Pallavicini Chapel, with a.o. tombs of members of the two families who gave their names to the chapel. The architect Nicola Meletti and the sculptor Ludovico Rusconi worked together on this chapel. Tommaso Chiari made the paintings of San Pietro d’Alcantara and San Pasquale Babylon. The statues to the left of the sarcophagus illustrate “Justice” and “Strength”, while the ones to the right personify “Charity” and “Prudence”. Death towers above them all. The altar is made of polychrome marble.
- Left transept: The Paluzzi-Albertoni Chapel by Giacomo Mola. Here Bernini‘s above-mentioned Estasi can be admired with the painting “Saint Anna and the Virgin” by Giovanni Battista Gaulli behind it.
- Third chapel on the left: Andrea Bolgi made Laura Frangipani‘s bust (1637).
- Second chapel on the left: Frescoes by Giovanni Battista Ricci. The “Annunciation” in the center was done by Francesco Salviati.
- First chapel on the left: Paintings by Marten de Vos (“Conception”, 1555), Antonio della Cornia (“Ascension”) and Simon Vouet (“Birth of the Virgin”, 1620)
- Main altar (1746): A statue of Saint Franciscus by “Fra Diego da Careri” and a painting by Paris Nogari (“Holy Trinity”).
The artist Giorgio De Chirico is buried in the Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa.