Wednesday, March 28, 2012

walking tour - Trinita' dei Monti

Anamorphoses painting, odd wall mural which changed features depending on where you looked at it. here you see reclining figure but if you look at it straight on you see St Francis crossing the straits of Messina on his cloak. 
Astrolab room, completely frescoed ceiling and walls with a very detailed  and complicated method for telling time all over the world depending on where the sun spot hit. Galileo worked on this as he was housed in the villa medici during his period of inquisition.

Renaissance garden with the "forestry" building in the background. Guests can stay in this building which is held up by Roman ruins.

room in the foresty building which was frescoed to look like Roman ruins, was very well done.

view of city and St Peter's from in front of forestry building

same room as above with the painted roman ruin effect

Refectory of convent frescoed by Andrea del Pozzo, was of the Marriage of Cana. Don't know what that person is doing climbing on the balustrade!

three wonderful musicians playing instruments which you can't really see here but it was a vibrant and lively scene.

part of the refectory- wedding of cana scene

in all the lunettes in the cloister scenes from the life of St Francis De Paolo from birth till death

cloister which was all frescoed in early 1600's and the two towers of the church

in between the lunettes were painted portraits of various kings of France
The church of Trinita' dei Monti was built (like most things in Rome) on Roman ruins of a villa which belonged to Ducullus in 63 B.C.  The area had been vineyards, farmland for hundreds of years. In the 1500-1560's the area changed and villas were built here, a French king bought the land, what is now known as the "villa Medici" was built in about 1540, bought by Ferdinando dei Medici in 1576.  The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1493.
The church is at the top of the Spanish steps (today covered in scaffolding). The area is famous for the "spanish steps" but they weren't built until 1723-25. The Spanish embassy to the Holy See was at the bottom of the staircase, the French were at the top and we assume it took hundreds of years of negotiating between the two to see who was going to pay for the staircase (seems like the spanish did)?
The church is dedicated to St. Francis de Paolo, coming from Paolo in Calabria, always portrayed with a bright sun with "caritas" written in it. A humble priest, who lived as a hermit, died 1507.  Started the  sta order of the Minims, the humbliest of the humble. The nuns running the convent/school today are of this order.
First chapel in church was done in 1513. Being a "french" church it does has some gothic elements, some ribbed vaulting and some other gothic elements were lost in restoration works.  The church was in bad repair but has been restored in recent years and is looking better. Two frescoes by Daniel da Volterra are the most famous works of art in the church. One of which, the Assumption, has a picture of Michaelangelo painted in it.  The second painting is a descent from the cross, very much in the mannerist style of painting. Very complicated, lots of figures,  you can always see at least one figure from behind, and the figures are often in very contorted, complicated poses.

We had a tour of the convent area where there is now a school, Sacro Cuore. The nuns have been here since 1828, the Minims, extreme humility.  Saw the wonderfully frescoed cloister, the two rooms above the cloister with the anamorphoses painting and astrolab, the foresteria building and the fabulously frescoed refectory.  Great visit.

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