Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza by Borromini
Photo by: Lawrence OP

Hidden gems in Rome: Borromini’s Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

If you’re not an architecture enthusiast you might not have heard of Francesco Borromini. Located behind the hidden walls of Palazzo alla Sapienza the Baroque marvel is very hard to spot from the outside. However, once you peak inside the entrance located very close to the Senate of Italy, you are amazed by what you see.

This Baroque church dates back to 1660, when Rome was at its height between the rivalry of the great master Bernini and his everlasting antagonist Borromini. Throughout the city, Borromini and Bernini’s work can be spotted quite close to one another.

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza by Borromini

What makes Borromini’s church a marvel is definitely the ecstatic dome of the church. The swirling and dancing lantern on top of the dome might be the only little sign that helps passerby’s recognize or realize the existence of the church. Located very close to Piazza Navona close to another work by the architect, Sant’Ivo is a hidden gem of Baroque history in Rome. Borromini not only designed the church but he also redesigned the courtyard for Gicomo della Porta. When Borromini got the commission for this church, he devised a plan that resembled the Star of David.

The structure is a clear example of the style of its time. The interior space is filled with natural light that surrounds you with its geometric play. The interior is decorated by Pietro da Cortona’s “St. Yves”. The play on space by the use of triangles, convex and concave structures truly portray the excellence Borromini possess in his artistry. Unfortunately, the church is very rarely open to be visited, but the exterior is there to watch for everyone who is curious.

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

Corso del Rinascimento, 40 (Navona)

Open on Sundays from 9am – 12pm

Free Entry

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