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Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, Rome

(85+ reviews on the web)
Architectural Building Church
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza is a Roman Catholic church in Rome. Built in 1642-1660 by the architect Francesco Borromini, the church is a masterpiece of Roman Baroque architecture.The church is at the rear of a courtyard at 40, Corso del Rinascimento; the complex is now used by the Archives of the City of Rome.HistoryIn the 14th century, there was a chapel here for the palace of the University of Rome. The University is called La Sapienza, and the church was dedicated to Saint Yves (patron saint of jurists). When a design was commissioned from Borromini in the 17th century, he adapted to the already existing palazzo. He choose a plan resembling a star of David - which would have been recognized at the time as a Star of Solomon, symbolizing wisdom - and merged a curved facade of the church with the courtyard of the palace. The corkscrew lantern of the dome was novel. The complex rhythms of the interior have a dazzling geometry to them.The main artwork of the interior is the altarpiece by Pietro da Cortona, portraying St. Yves.ExteriorThe church rises at the end of the alley of buildings so that the façade can be seen throughout the alleyway; this suggests a decentralized planning on Borromini’s part. Baroque architecture differed from renaissance in moving from centralization to different orientations, shifting the buildings; such as churches, from the main stage to the background while maintaining similar importance in society. This is specially true for Sant'Ivo, hidden within the confines of its encapsulating alley. A courtyard, known as the courtyard of Giacomo della Porta leads to the entrance of Sant'Ivo. Arguably, the courtyard and surrounding edifice framing San'Ivo serve to create a separate dimension inside the alley where the towering dome above the façade of the church is the dominating focus point granting the building a form of captivating power via the focus the alley provides.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This church is a little hard to find, even though it's near the Piazza Navonna. It's off the street in a courtyard. It's a beautiful example of innovative baroque architecture, with a very distinctive...  more »
  • Outside the church looks very interesting. Unfortunately we could not get in, because only work until noon.  more »
  • My friend who is a builder loves this Borromini church. He says it's the best piece of architecture other than the Pantheon in Rome. Unfortunately for us it was closed for repair in March 2017. There ...  more »
Google
  • Hours: 9-12 Sunday only; Mass at 11 A great design by the great Borromini.
  • Perhaps the most exquisite of Borromini's churches- open only on Sunday mornings so plan accordingly, you do not want to miss this remarkable Baroque gem.
  • One of the baroque masterpieces! Check borromini s sketches of the project
  • Generally regarded as Borromini's masterpiece - a masterpiece of space-shaping and "geometrical succinctness" At first look walls appear fluid in continuous motion. 1642-60
  • It was under maintenance when I was visiting