The San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Church is located at the end of the Via Giulia in Rome. It is the national church of the Florentine community in Rome and the only church in the city where animals are allowed inside.
San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Basilica Rome
Although the facade is in the Via Giulia, the official address of the “Basilica of Saint John the Baptist of the Florentines” is Piazza dell’Oro – 00186 Rome (tel. +39 0668892059). Bus: 40, 46, 62, 64, 116, 190F, 916, 916F, N5, N15, N20. The church is open every day from 07:25 to 12:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00. During Mass, the San Giovanni dei Fiorentina Church is not open to tourists. The Museo d’Arte Sacra (Museo dei Fiorentini) is open Monday to Saturday from 09:30 to 12:00. Both the church and the museum are free (although a contibution is more than appreciated).
History and description
Not unexpectedly, the first version of the San Giovanni dei Fiorentini basilica, was built at the behest of the first Medici Pope, Leo. The church was to be the architectural highlight at the end of the then newly constructed Via Giulia. An earlier project by Bramante was never realized and in 1519 Jacopo di Sansovino, whose project was chosen after a competition in which also Raphael, Giuliano da Sangallo and Baldassarre Peruzzi participated, was allowed to build the church.
Since the church was dedicated to John the Baptist, the idea was to place it close to the river, which caused many difficulties with the foundation. Sansovino had to give way to Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane, who solved the problems with the foundation, but then could not continue.
It was Giacomo della Porta who managed to more or less complete the church.
Carlo Maderno put the finishing touches on the dome in 1634.
Pietro da Cortona decorated the apse in the 1640s, using paintings taken from from the Chiesa Nuova. When the chapel in the apse was dedicated to the Falconieri family, Cortona was commissioned to design a huge sculpture group that was to be be executed by Francesco Mochi. The sculpture group “The Baptism of Christ” was later produced by Antonio Raggi to a design by Borromini.
Between 1734 and 1738, the facade of the church was completed by Alessandro Galilei, who would himself die a year before the work was completed.
What to see
Both Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini are buried inside the church.
There are two busts by Bernini’s hand, representing Antonio Coppola and Antonio Cepparelli respectively, two wealthy Florentines who owned the Arciconfraternita and the Ospedale dei Fiorentini.
The altar of the church was designed by Borromini.
There is an altarpiece depicting “Saints Cosma and Damiano” created by Salvator Rosa.
Pomarancio painted several frescoes in the church.