Trinità de’ Monti Church Rome

The Trinità de Monti Church and adjacent Convent, are located at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The most striking feature of this church is its two impressive bell towers. The official name of the church is Santissima Trinità al Monte Pincio.

Trinità de’ Monti Church Rome

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Trinità de' Monti Church Rome
Trinità de’ Monti Church

The address of the church is Piazza della Trinità dei Monti – 00187 Rome (tel. +39 066794179). Metro: Spagna. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 06:30 to 20:00. Thursday from 06:30 to 24:00. Closed on Mondays. The monastery can be visited on Saturdays at 11 a.m. with a guided tour in Italian. On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 9:15 a.m. there are guided tours in French. These tours cost 5 Euro per person.

History Trinità de’ Monti Church

Construction of the church, commissioned by the owner of the land and King of France, Louis XII, began in 1502. The intention was to give the church to the French clergy of the monastic order of San Francesco di Paola.

The construction of the church took much longer than expected, mainly caused by the lack of money after the sack of Rome. Consequently, between 1527 and 1587, construction was often at a complete standstill.

The architects of the original, Gothic section of the Chiesa di Trinità de’ Monti were Annibale Lippi and Gregorio Caronica. The stones used for its construction were imported from Narbonne, France, at the express wish of the king.

In 1585 Pope Sixtus V consecrated the church and in that year he also ordered the construction of the Via Felice, which connected the Pincio Hill, and thus the church, via the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica to the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Church. This street, constructed by Domenico Fontana, was called Via Felice, the pope’s real name being Felice Peretti.

However, because of the excavations needed to construct the street, the level of the latter ended up much lower than the church itself. Fontana’s solution was to build the beautiful double staircase to the entrance. On the pillars at the beginning of these steps is the coat of arms of the Peretti family (three hills). The herms above the capitals are decorated with bas-reliefs representing San Luigi.

The facade was designed by Carlo Maderno. The two bell towers are symmetrical and have an octagonal dome.

The interior is characterized by a single nave, with six chapels on the sides.

What to see

The Deposizione (“Descent from the Cross”) by Daniele Da Volterra is the most famous masterpiece in the church.

In a second painting, the Assunzione (“Assumption of Mary”), the painter incorporated a portrait of his teacher Michelangelo (the last figure on the right).

The Cappella Massimo is graced by a fresco cycle by Perin del Vaga from 1537. These “Episodes from the New and Old Testaments” were completed by brothers Taddeo and Federico Zuccari.

Trinità de Monti Convent

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the convent was an important cultural center, where sciences were taught and which included a lavish library.

Construction of the convent began in 1530. It was completed in 1570. In 1624, after a restoration by the architect Bartolomeo Bricci, it assumed its present form.

In 1798, the monastery was occupied, and severely damaged, by French troops who confiscated the library and many works of art from the church. Moreover, French artists began to use the monastery cells as studios, and the church itself was even transformed into an art gallery.

After the fall of Napoleon, the artists were kicked out and the French king Louis XVIII had the complex restored by the architect Mazois.

He also had the epigraph under the cornice changed so that it was no longer the King of France with the help of the Minims (founded by Francesco de Paola) who had taken on the construction of the complex, but only Louis XVIII who was responsible for everything. In 1871 the original epigraph was restored.

After the Minims left the convent in 1828, it was given to the Suore dell’Istituto del Sacro Cuore (“Sisters of the Sacred Heart Institute”). These founded a school there that is still among the most exclusive ones of the city.

Villa of Lucullus

Long before the Trinità de Monti Church was built, the Villa di Lucullo used to occupy the site. Here the Acqua Vergine Aqueduct left the underground canal to continue on arches.

Piazza della Trinità dei Monti – Rome