The San Lorenzo in Panisperna Church is located in the Via Panisperna in Rome. The church has a beautiful courtyard. In the buildings of the monastery that used to belong to the church, the first steps would later be taken that would lead to the invention of the atomic bomb.
San Lorenzo in Panisperna Church Rome
The address of the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Panisperna is Via Panisperna, 90 – 00184 Rome. Tel. +39 06483667. Metro: Termini, Cavour. Bus: 71, 117. Opening hours: Unknown.
History and description
This fairly unknown church, also called San Lorenzo in Formosa, is located on the site where San Lorenzo was martyred during the reign of Emperor Constantine. The place where he was held prisoner was nearby, below what is now the San Lorenzo in Fonte Church in the Via Urbana.
The church was renovated in the 8th, 14th and 16th centuries. When the Via Milano was constructed in the 19th century, the gardens belonging to the convent of the church were divided in two. In 1893, it was necessary to build the staircase leading to the courtyard of the church because of the difference in height created by the construction of Via Milano.
The adjacent convent was expropriated by the State in 1873 to house the scientific faculties of the University of Rome. It was here that Enrico Fermi and his companions conducted the first experiments that would later lead to the invention of the atomic bomb.
What to see
On the right side of the courtyard is a typical medieval house with an external staircase. Generally, one sees this kind of house only in small villages outside Rome, but until the 19th century they were fairly normal in the district.
The interior consists of a single nave, with three chapels on either side. the chapels were redecorated in 1757.
The wooden entrance to the church dates back to 1664, while two 8th century pillars were reused for the threshold. The coat of arms in the middle of the tympanum is that of Pope Leo XIII Pecci.
The façade of the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Panisperna was designed by Francesco da Volterra in 1574.
The crypt is located where the grate on which the Saint is said to have been martyred used to be.
To the left of the main altar is a 15th century wooden crucifix.
The second chapel on the left contains a 3rd century sarcophagus.
In the presbytery is a fresco by Pasquale Cati, the “Martyrdom of San Lorenzo.”
The ceiling fresco “Glory of San Lorenzo” was painted by Antonio Bicchierai.
“Santa Brigida Praying in front of the Crucifix”, was painted by Giuseppe Montesanti (1757). The mortal remains of this saint, now in Sweden, used to be kept in the chapel where the painting is shown. She used to beg for alms for the benefit of poor people in front of the gate of the church.