The San Nicola da Tolentino Church is located on the street of the same name in the Trevi neighborhood in Rome. It is the Armenian national church in Rome. Its official name is Chiesa di San Nicola da Tolentino agli orti Sallustiani.
San Nicola da Tolentino Church Rome
The address of the church is Salita di San Nicola da Tolentino, 17 – 00187 Rome. Telephone: +39 064245801. The church is open only during Sunday Mass (11 a.m.). Admission is free.
History and description
The church was built in 1599 for the Order of the Barefoot Agostinians, which had been founded that same year by Pope Clement VIII. At that time, the neighborhood had not yet been developed, so the church stood among vineyards and gardens.
In 1620, the architect Carlo Buti was commissioned to enlarge the church. Due to lack of money, the work progressed very slowly until Prince Camillo Pamphilj, as a result of a promise made to God at the healing of his wife Olimpia Aldobrandini, fully financed the construction. He did hire a new architect, Alessandro Algardi, whose pupil Giovanni Maria Baratta would eventually complete the church in 1654.
The Baroque facade of the church, which is preceded by a broad staircase, is also by Baratta, but is the result of a 1670 renovation. This facade consists of two levels divided into three parts by Corinthian columns and pilasters.
Above the entrance gate is a tympanum with the inscription “CAMILLUS PRINCEPS PAMPHILIUS”. The two niches on either side are decorated with doves with an olive branch in their beaks, the coat of arms of the Pamphilj family.
A second inscription separates the lower and upper parts of the church. A semicircular tympanum with the coat of arms of the Pamphilj surmounted by the cross crowns the facade.
The interior of the San Nicola di Tolentino Church is characterized by a Latin cross floor plan, with a single nave and 3 chapels on either side. The decorations and frescoes date from the 17th century.
The architects Algardi and Baratta also designed the altars. Near the main altar is an alcove with the sculpture group “Vision of San Nicola di Tolentino with the Virgin, Sant’Agostino and Santa Monica” by Ercole Ferrata and Domenico Guidi. Legend has it that a sick San Nicola called upon the Virgin, who then appeared with the two saints and gave him consecrated bread. The Benedictines were later also to hand out bread believed to have healing properties.
The Gavotti Chapel was designed in 1668 by Pietro da Cortona. The sculptures in this chapel were made by Antonio Raggi and Ercole Ferrata.
The dome is built on an octagonal tambour and has eight arched windows. The female figures painted on the pendentives by Pietro Paolo Ubaldini in 1643 represent the four main rules of the Agostinian monastic order: Chastity, Humility, Poverty and Obedience.
The large ceiling painting on the dome itself is by Giovanni Coli and Filippo Gherardi and depicts the “Glory of San Nicola da Tolentino” (1671).