[map]Piazza di Sant’Ignazio[/map]
On our third trip to Rome, I decided we should see something that wasn’t as famous as lets say, the Colosseum or the Vatican, which are always sure to be filled with masses of tourists. I decided on the church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. The church is located in the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio not too far from the famous Trevi Fountain (perfect for visiting both in the same day).
Because that day we visited many other attractions along the way, my son being then eleven, was reaching the “mom, my feet hurt” moment. Mind you, I have to give him props for all the walking he manages to do on all our trips. I’m pretty sure sometimes he would rather be playing a video game than looking at, as he calls them, “old buildings”. Our next trip is coming up in 2016 and he will be 13 going on 14. Hopefully he will have more appreciation and interest in these ‘old buildings’. In school, his history class consists primarily of Canadian history. Although very important, I wish they would also cover history of the rest of the world. I’m sure a lot more history enthusiasts would come out as a result. I can only hope that one day, when he’s older, the memories of our trips will awaken his desire to travel and undertake his own adventures. This church was the perfect, quiet break for us.
Piazza di Sant’Ignazio
We visited the Trevi Fountain before we walked over to Piazza di Sant’Ignazio, so we came down Via del Caravita, which placed the church on our right hand side. The Piazza is unique as it was built to resemble the shape of a stage. You will notice this is achieved with the half rounded buildings facing the church. If it weren’t for these buildings, we would have walked right passed the church. Don’t look for the church, look for these distinct buildings and you will find the church.
The Church Itself
Although towering over the surrounding buildings, the facade of the church doesn’t stand out much from the rest. It also does no justice to what lays inside. The church, built in the Baroque style between 1626 and 1650 by mathematician Orazio Grassi, was dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the society of Jesus in Rome, Italy.
As you walk inside, the moment you pass the threshold, you are overtaken by the silence. It’s as if someone suddenly stopped time, the hustle and bustle of the outside world just comes to a standstill. There weren’t many tourists inside, which made the experience even more special. The next thing you notice, is the grandness of the building and beauty of the art.
Walk onto the marble disc set into the floor of the nave and look up. This disc marks the ideal spot to view the fresco painting by Andrea Pozzo, which was created in a way to give the illusion of the church being taller and open to see the sky. The painted fresco represents the works of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus and the saint being welcomed into paradise by Christ and Mary.
If you move to the next marble disc in the floor and look up, you will see, a coffered dome. The cupola that was expected to be here, was never built and so Pozzo created this painting on canvas in it’s place. Unfortunately, my pictures of it didn’t come out too well but it’s something worth mentioning.
We walked around in silence taking in the beautiful art all around the church. We then sat down in the chairs on the outskirts of the nave. While still admiring the nave fresco, it provided a welcomed moment of silence and rest. It made me wonder how long and how tough it must have been to create art on such a grand scale. On leaving the quietness of the church, we were once again hit with the noise of the world beyond, this time a little more refreshed.