Basilica of San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Rome

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 and the only church in Rome allowing animals inside.

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Basilica Rome

Useful information

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Basilica Rome
San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Basilica

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 contribution is more than appreciated).

History and description

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini (gable)

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.

The first project by Bramante was however never realized. In 1519, Jacopo di Sansovino, whose design 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 going to be dedicated to John the Baptist, the idea was to place it close to the river. This caused practical difficulties with the foundation, however. As a result, Sansovino wa replaced by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane, who managed to solve the problems with the foundation, but was then unable to finish the construction.

It was Giacomo della Porta who in the end managed to more or less complete the church.

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini (dome)
The best place to see the exterior of the dome is from across the river.

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, which Francesco Mochi then was supposed to sculpt. “The Baptism of Christ” was later produced by Antonio Raggi to a design by Borromini.

In 1734, Alessandro Galilei started the completion of the facade, although he was not to see the final result. He died in 1737, one year before the work was ready.

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.

San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini Basilica Rome

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