Sant’Agnese in Agone Church Rome

The baroque Sant’Agnese in Agone Church is located in the Piazza Navona in Rome. It faces Bernini‘s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, to which it is connected by an interesting, but untrue, story.

Sant’Agnese in Agone Church Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Sant'Agnese in Agone Church Rome
Sant’Agnese in Agone Church Rome

Address: Piazza Navona – Rome (tel. +39 06 68192134). Opening hours: Tuesday till Friday from 09.00 till 13.00 and from 15.00 till 19.00. Saturdays and Sundays from 09.00 till 13.00 and from 15.00 till 20.00. Admission: Free.

History and description

Three different architects put their mark on the construction of the Sant’Agnese in Agone church. Pope Innocent X in 1652 ordered Girolamo Rainaldi to initiate plans for the church. Between 1653 and 1668 the famous Borromini designed the facade, while the finishing touch was applied by Girolamo Rainaldi‘s son Carlo.

The influence of Borromini is particularly notable in the facade. He put the two towers further apart and had the wall between these towers project slightly more outwards.

Works of art

  • The funeral monument for Innocentius X.

Notable facts

  • Pope Innocent X was a member of the rich and influential Pamphili family that owned the adjacent palazzo. From this building (Palazzo Pamphili) there was a portal through which it was possible to look directly into the church, so that the Pope and other members of his family could attend Mass without having to leave their home.
  • The name in Agone has nothing to with the English word agony, but refers to the name Piazza Navona used to be known by when it was still part of the Domitian Stadium and was used for races.
  • Another story that is, unfortunately since rather poetic, not true is that Borromini‘s big rival Bernini had one of the statues (the Rio de la Plata) of his Fountain of the Four Rivers, which is located directly in front of the church, look away in disgust from Bernini‘s façade. One knows this is only a legend since the fountain preceded the church by some years.
  • The church is built in the exact spot where Saint Agnes was tortured with her long hair miraculously covering her naked body.

More information

Sant’Agnese in Agone Church, Rome

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