San Tommaso in Formis Church Rome

The San Tommaso in Formis Church is located near the Villa Celimontana in Rome. Originally this church was administered by the Order of the Trinitarians. In the Arch of Dolabella, next to the church, is a small room where the founder of the order spent the last years of his life.

San Tommaso in Formis Church Rome

Useful information

The entrance to San Tommaso in Formis Church is at Via di San Paolo della Croce 10, Rome.


San Tommaso in Formis Church Rome
San Tommaso in Formis Church

The Church of San Tommaso in Formis was built in the 13th century together with a Benedictine Monastery. In 1207 Pope Innocent III gave the complex to the founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity, John of Matha. Two years later, the order had a hospital built next to it. Here the slaves freed by these Trinitari were nursed.

In 1379 the order had to leave the church by order of Pope Urban VI. The reason was that they supported the antipope Clement VII.

Ten years later, church and convent came into the hands of the Vatican chapter. Only in 1898, on the occasion of the centenary of the Trinitarians, did the order get its church back.

In 1926, the reopening of the church took place. By then the hospital no longer existed, as it had to make way for the “Experimental Institute for Plant Nutrition”.


The church stands at the end of an avenue and has a facade characterized by pilasters and a triangular tympanum.

The entrance is next to the Arch of Dolabella, which supports the arches of the Aqueduct of Nero. The addition in Formis therefore means “at the aqueduct.”

The inscription on the portal means, “Dedicated to the Holy Apostle Thomas.” The letters IHS within a radiant circle to the right of the portal refer to Jesus.

The small window on the Arch of Dolabella is said to correspond to the cell where St. John of Matha lived from 1209 until his death in 1213. This room was accessed by a spiral staircase in a pylon of the aqueduct.

All that remains of the hospital is the 13th century entrance door on the Largo della Sanità Militare. As the inscription indicates, this portal is the work of Jacopo di Lorenzo and his son Cosma. The shrine above the door includes the coat of arms of the Trinitarians (a red and blue cross) and a mosaic from 1210 depicting “Christ with two ransomed slaves.”

Of the monastery, part of the brick facade still stands, with marble windows and a door made of the stone type peperino with a pointed arch surviving.

San Tommaso in Formis Church – Via San Paolo della Croce 10, Rome

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