The Church of Sant’Egidio is dedicated to the Benedictine patron saint of cripples and beggars, Egidio, and is located on the Piazza Sant’Egidio in the Trastevere district in Rome. Saint Egidio lived in the 8th century and probably had his birthplace in Normandy.
Church of Sant’Egidio Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza di Sant’Egidio – Rome (tel: +39 06 5895945). Opening hours: At the moment the church is closed for restoration.
History and description
Before the Sant’Egidio church was built, another church stood in the same site. This church, called the San Lorenzo de Curtibus (aka San Lorenzo de Janiculo), in 1610 was bought by a pious and rich butcher, Agostino Lancellotti, who had the San Lorenzo butchered and the Sant’Egidio constructed in the same spot.
The new church was then given to the Order of the Barefoot Carmelites, who up to that point had been living in a house adjacent to the former San Lorenzo.
In 1610 Pope Paul V gave the nuns permission to turn the separate buildings into one convent.
From this moment on the story becomes a bit complicated: In 1628 a second church was built, the San Crispino and Crispiniano, which was at first called the San Biagio in Trastevere. It was decided that two churches was a bit much and the Sant’Egidio that used to be the San Lorenzo was torn down in order to create space for an extra bit of convent. At the same time the San Crispino e Crispiniano that used to be the San Biagio became the Sant’Egidio. By then everybody had started giggling so hard that nobody was able to come up with a different name anymore and the Sant’Egidio remained the Sant’Egidio.
In 1870 the convent became property of the Italian State and five years after that of the city of Rome. In the early 20th century the sanatorium Ettore Marchiafava was housed there, with the aim to fight the malaria which was rampant in humid Trastevere. At present it is the seat of both the Museo del Folklore e dei Poeti Romaneschi and of the Museo di Roma in Trastevere.
The church itself, as can be read above the entrance, is dedicated to the Madonna del Carmelo and is connected to the lay organization (but recognized by the Catholic church), the Comunita di Sant’Egidio. which has existed since 1968 and occupies itself with evangelization and aid to the poor.
Sant Egidio‘s facade is characterized by a huge door and an equally big window. Pilasters support the tympanum. The church consists of a single nave.
At the corner of the Piazza Sant’Egidio and the Via della Scala, on a side wall of the church, one of Rome’s biggest Madonelle can be seen, dedicated to the Madonna del Carmelo. It is painted directly onto the wall and pictures the Madonna in heaven, sitting on a cloud. She is surrounded by cherubs and angels. Unfortunately the bottom part of the wall painting, which has a square frame with rounded corners, has been damaged.
Works of art in the Chiesa di Sant’Egidio
- Pomarancio‘s “Sant’Egidio”
- The funerary monument for Veronica Rondinini by Carlo Fontana.