San Giovanni dei Fiorentini is an early 16th century minor basilica, parish and titular church, with a postal address at Via Acciaioli 2 which is at the north end of the Via Giulia in the rione Ponte. The entrance is on the Piazza dell'Oro. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here. There is an English Wikipedia page here.
This is also the regional church for expatriates from Florence.
The dedication is to St John the Baptist. The church's official name is San Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini.
The basilica had a predecessor, which has its first mention in a papal bull of Pope Urban III in 1186 as a dependency of San Lorenzo in Damaso. The name given was Sancti Pantaleonis iuxta Flumen, or "St Pantaleon next to the river". This would have been one of the small parish churches that proliferated in the then built-up area in the late 10th to early 11th century, a massive church-building campaign that has left hardly any record.
The parish here failed earlier than most (too many churches were built), and in 1218 it was combined with that of Santi Celso e Giuliano which remained the local parish church until the 20th century. A transcription of a lost epigraph preserves a record of a restoration or rebuilding in 1344.
The remote origins of the present church are in 1448, when a group of Florentine expatriates founded the Compagnia della Pietà dei Fiorentini in response to an epidemic. The main motivation was to help their sick confreres, and to arrange funerals for those who died. There was a flourishing expatriate Florentine community in Rome at the time, especially featuring the bankers and artists for which the city was famous. It was concentrated in the bend of the Tiber.
Pope Julius II ordered the Via Giulia to be cut through the network of filthy alleys between Via di Monserrat and the river in order to relive dangerous congestion caused by crowds of pilgrims, and this project was initiated in 1508.
Immediately, in the same year, the confraternity decided to build a magnificent church on the prime site at the north end of the new street occupied by their little edifice, and organized a competition for an architect. The best talent in Rome in the 15th century was attracted, and four architects competed: Raphael, Giuliano da Sangallo, Baldassare Peruzzi and Jacopo Sansovino.
Sansovino won, and started construction in 1519 after Pope Leo X approved the demolition of the old church (the pope also raised the status of the confraternity to that of an archconfraternity). However, he ran into serious trouble with the foundations at the river end. He was trying to build on an old sandbank, and the logistics overwhelmed him. Further, he suffered a bad fall in 1521 and basically gave up. It did not help that the Florentines accused him of embezzling funds intended for the project.
Back then, there was no such separate profession as architect. Many artists also practiced as architects, only some successfully. Raphael was one of those who were not so successful -he built Sant'Eligio degli Orefici just down the river, an edifice that has needed continual restoration to the present day because of his lack of practical understanding. It was very fortunate that he was not made responsible here.
In 1523 a Florentine was elected as pope in the person of Clement VII, and he ordered work to be restarted under the supervision of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Sangallo was a military engineer as well as an architect, so he succeeded with the foundations. However, the Sack of Rome in 1527 caused another long pause until 1534. Then Sangallo worked on the project until he died in 1546, upon which the Florentines put matters on hold again.
During the long pause before the actual church edifice was begun, Michelangelo Buonarroti proposed five separate schemes for the church based on a Greek cross plan. This was in 1559, with the collaboration of Tiberio Calcagni. Nothing came of them, because the money was not there.
One of the schemes has been translated into a digital edifice -see the Youtube video in "External links".
St Philip NeriEdit
One of the Florentine expatriates in Rome in the mid 16th century was the young St Philip Neri, who was ordained priest in 1551. In 1556 he was living at San Girolamo della Carità when he formed his disciples into the infant Oratorians, but in 1564 was made priest in charge of the (yet unbuilt) church. There must have been a temporary church here, the 16th century equivalent of the huts to be found awaiting permanent church edifices in the suburbs nowadays.
He was in charge of a fraternity of nine other Florentine expatriate priests, for whom he wrote a simple set of rules of life. However, he refused to leave San Girolamo and so these priests went to visit him there twice a day. Then he had three of his young disciples at San Girolamo ordained (Cesar Baronius, Giovanni Francesco Bordino and Germanico Fedeli), and sent them to live with the others at San Giovanni.
St Philip himself regarded this institution at San Giovanni as the first Oratory, and 1564 as the year of foundation. However, he had already formed a fraternity of disciples at San Girolamo and so that church is also claimed as the location of the first Oratory.
He was in charge of the nascent Oratory at San Giovanni until 1575. In the previous year, the Florentines had built a proper headquarters for the Oratorians next to the church site. Unfortunately for the Florentines, in 1575 St Philip was granted the church and convent of Chiesa Nuova (as it was to be known) and he moved his disciples there.
However, St Philip stubbornly remained resident at San Girolamo until forced to move to the Chiesa Nuova by the pope to be with his brethren.
Erecting the fabricEdit
Maderno made alterations to produce the edifice that now stands, discarding plans to end the presbyterium and transepts in semi-circular apses. He has been criticized for leaving the church's riverside frontage looking "mean", but money was apparently running out. He finished the dome in 1612, and the church was finally completed in 1620 -except for a proper façade.
Francesco Borromini was mainly involved in the design of the sanctuary, sponsored by the Falconieri family in exchange for having funerary monuments on the side walls.
The sanctuary project was actually begun by Orazio Falconieri in 1634, when he asked Pietro da Cortona to prepare drawings. Cortona laid a base for the altar, but for some reason work stopped and a temporary altar was then used until 1665. In that year, Borromini took over and worked on the project until he committed suicide in 1667. Carlo Fontana added finishing touches over the next two years, and then Ciro Ferri worked here from 1673 for three years.
There was a wait of almost a century before the entrance façade was erected, Alessandro Galilei being the architect. This was begun in 1733 and was finished in 1738. He died the year before it was completed. Several sculptors were involved in its decoration.
The result was a triumphant demonstration of Florentine pride and wealth, contrasting with most of the other expatriate Italian churches in Rome which are small. The Florentines were especially pleased at showing up the Sienese, their deadly rivals, in their little church of Santa Caterina da Siena a Via Giulia down the street.
Unfortunately they then lacked the resources to decorate the interior properly, except the side chapels which they leased out to noble families for funerary purposes. The families concerned conveniently paid for the fitting-out of these chapels.
The expatriate community that ran the church founded a hospital and hospice next door in 1607, which became the Ospedale della Nazione Fiorentina.
For most of its history, the church was reserved for the use of Florentine expatriates and had the status of an extra-territorial parish in Rome. That is, those living in Rome but born in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (as the territory ruled by Florence had become) had this as their parish church no matter where in Rome they lived.
The Via Giulia on which the church stood continued northwestwards until it met the river, where there was a quay called the Mole dei Fiorentini. From here there was a ferry to the lunatic asylum of Santa Maria Maddalena nello Spedale de' Pazzi on the other side of the river. The hospice complex occupied the triangular block between the church, river and Via Giulia.
In 1851 there was a major restoration by Gaspare Salvi after the church had fallen into serious disrepair. The floor is by him.
In 1906 the church was made parochial territorially, by taking over the former parish of Santi Celso e Giuliano. Then in 1918 it was elevated to the status of a minor basilica.
In 1939, the old hospice to the north of the church was demolished to make way for the eastern approach road of the Ponte Principe Amedeo Savoia Aosta. The Florentine confraternity built a new, smaller headquarters on the abbreviated city block, the architect being Bruno Maria Apollonj Ghetti.
In 2001, a new museum was opened.
In 2006 a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Altagracia, venerated in the Dominican Republic, was blessed for the church. This copy was by Leon Bosch, 1936.
Layout and fabricEdit
The church plan is based on a Latin cross, but the ground area it occupies is actually rectangular since the short transepts do not extend beyond the wide aisles which have the same width as the nave. The short sanctuary is square-ended.
The roofs are pitched and tiled, and over the transepts and presbyterium are hipped. There is a row of five lunette windows high up on the aisle walls on each side, and the upper nave walls above the aisles have a row of horizontal rectangular windows each.
The dome was completed in 1612 by Carlo Maderno, who is buried in the church. It is in lead, slightly elliptical and ribbed, and is on an octagonal drum. Alternate sides of the drum have a rectangular window and an arched niche. There is a stone lantern, with arched slit windows.
The present two-storey façade in travertine limestone is the last part that was completed, in 1738. It was cleaned and restored a few years ago.
The first storey has four pairs of half-round Corinthian columns, the inner two pairs flanking the main entrance and supporting an entablature the frieze of which has a memorial inscription to Pope Clement XII and the year 1734. The smaller aisle entrances are between these inner pairs and the two outer pairs; they have segmental pediments, whereas the nave entrance has a triangular one. Above the latter is a coat-of-arms accompanied by statues of an angel and a muse.
The corners of this storey are occupied by a pair of rectangular Corinthian pilasters, and the sections of the entablature supported by the columns are brought forward. In between each pair of columns is a round-headed niche, with a carving of a fleur-de-lis in a wreath below and a figurative bas-relief scene in a square panel above.
The second storey has four Corinthian half-round columns with high plinths and supporting an entablature with a crowning triangular pediment.
At the centre is a large arched window with a segmental pediment but no pilasters, and at the bottom of this is a balustraded balcony. The line of the top of the latter is continued by a thin string course over the tops of the pilaster plinths to two other balustrades over the outer end of the first storey. In between each pair of columns is a round-headed niche with a Greek cross motif above and a lion mask below. This frontage is bounded by swooping curves without volutes, and on these is a pair of crowned fleur-de-lys, the symbol of Florence.
The ends of the façade, above the balustrade, is decorated with six statues of saints.
The church's website gives the following list of sculptors involved in the façade: Filippo Della Valle, Paolo Benaglia, Pietro Bracci, Domenico Scaramuccia, Salvatore Sanni, Francesco Queirolo, Simone Martinez, Gaetano Altobello, Carlo Pacilli and Giuseppe Canard.
Della Valle was responsible for the statues of Charity and Fortitude sitting on the pediment over the central doorway, and for the bas-relief of The Preaching of St John the Baptist. Bracci did the bas-relief of The Baptism of Christ.
The interior has been described as a treasure-house of Baroque art, which is true but it has also been described as disappointing architecturally and decoratively. You need to look in the chapels for the good art.
There is a central nave of five bays with side aisles, and five identical self-contained chapels on either side off the aisles (one of these on the right is a side entrace). Then comes a transept, with a dome over the crossing. The sanctuary is a single bay.
At each end of the transept is a further chapel, and two more flank the sanctuary.
The overall decorative scheme is mostly white tricked out in light grey, including the inside of the dome which has very simple and non-figurative monochrome decoration. The oculus of the dome contains the Dove of the Holy Spirit, and is ringed by a dedicatory inscription with the year of completion, 1614.
The side chapels are much more richly decorated, but the observant visitor will notice disquieting signs that the chapel roofs are not weathertight in places.
The nave arcades have rectangular piers, with Doric imposts supporting the arches and Corinthian pilasters on their inner faces rising up to support an entablature with a projecting cornice having modillions (small corbels). This entablature is painted to resemble grey-veined marble.
The central nave side walls, above this and below the ceiling, are unusually low and are in the style of two attic plinths having slightly recessed panels separated by posts. The panels look as if they were meant to have been frescoed.
The barrel-vaulted ceiling has window lunettes over the arcade arches. It lacks decoration, except for a small central fresco of a heraldic shield.
The church organ in its gilded case is in a floating balustraded gallery which is on corbels over the entrance.
The geometrically patterned marble floor dates from 1851.
Tomb of BorrominiEdit
Borromini is buried under the cupola on the right, in the tomb of Carlo Maderno his uncle, but you will find his commemorative floor epitaph on the left hand side. This was owing to the re-laying of the floor in 1851.
There is a legend that he wished to be buried at San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, but that the Trinitatarian friars there refused because of his suicide. This is completely false, because he had specified this burial place in his will. Further, there was no problem about his being buried in consecrated ground because he did not die immediately on his suicide attempt. He had made a mess of it, and so could repent in the time he took to die in agony.
In 1955 a wall epitaph was installed on on the third pier on the left hand side of the nave. It has a little portrait of the architect above it. The inscription reads:
Franciscus Borromini Ticinensis, eques Christi, qui imperiturae memoriae architectus, divinam artis suae vim ad Romam magnificis aedificiis exornandum vertit, in quibus Oratorium Philippinum, S. Ivo, S. Agnes in Agone instaurata; Lateranensis archibasilica, S. Andreas delle Fratte nuncupatum, S. Carolus in Quirinali, aedes de Propaganda Fide, hoc autem ipsum templum ara maxima decoravit, non longe ab hoc lapide prope mortales Caroli Maderni exuvias, propinqui municipis et aemuli sui, in pace Domini quiescit. Auspicibus excellentissimo viro Henrico Celio, Helvetiorum apud Italicam Rempublicam oratore, instituto Romanis studiis provehendis, Ticinensis in urbe commorantes, anno ab eius morte ducentesimo octogesimo octavo, tanto cive gloriantes, die XV Maii MCMLV, H. M. PP.
The sanctuary is a barrel-vaulted single bay, with the vault decorated richly in gilded stucco with a geometric pattern..
The altar aedicule counts as Borromini's last work, although his death left it unfinished. It has four ribbed Corinthian columns arranged on outward diagonals either side of the marble bas-relief altarpiece. This impressive piece depicts the Baptism of Christ, and is by Antonio Raggi, 1665. The figures of the Baptist and Christ are free-standing, while behind them a white marble cameo on a grey background incorporates depictions of God the Father and the Dove of the Holy Spirit.
This work replaced another sculptural composition on the same theme by Francesco Mochi, 1644. Fortunately the latter survived being thrown out, and is now at the Palazzo Braschi -a photo of it is here.
The aedicule columns stand on high double plinths in another kind of red marble, this one from France (rosso di Francia), and support a triangular pediment with the side corners brought forward. On these corners sit a statue of Justice by Michel Anguier, and one of Fortitude by Leonardo Retti who was of the school of Ercole Ferrata.
Below the altar are enshrined some relics of SS Protus and Hyacinth.
The tympanum of the pediment contains a window, a typical Borromini touch, and above in the lunette is a second window. These contain heraldic stained glass of the 19th century.
On the side walls are two funerary monuments to the Falconieri family designed by Borromini, which are impressive works in red and grey marble. The idea was to add commemorations of subsequently deceased members of the family, which is why the central compositions were originally flanked by stucco figures holding tondi on which cameo likenesses could be added later.
To the right is the monument to Orazio Falconieri, 1669 and designed by Ercole Ferrata with a good statue of Faith. She is holding a medallion with a likeness of Orazio with his wife, Ottavia Sacchetti.
This monument had one of its medallion-holders replaced in 1845 by a very good neo-Classical statue of a girl weeper putting a wreath on a pagan altar. This commemorates Alessandro Falconieri Mellini and his wife Marianna Lante Montefeltro della Rovere, and is allegedly by Paolo Benaglia. Are we sure about this? The artist died in 1739, and the memorial was erected over a hundred years later.
There is a burial vault for the Falconieri family below the sanctuary, designed by Borromini, but this proved unusable because of the incursion of river water. It is an elliptical room, with a flat stucco ceiling on an entablature supported by Doric columns. The ceiling has ribs focusing on a central elliptical tondo containing a stucco relief featuring crossed palm branches with a flower-swag and ribbon. The colour scheme is creamy white.
There is an apse niche containing an altar, and four doorways in the wall with ellipitical apertures (oculi) above and columns to the sides. One is for the staircase, and the others lead into loculi for coffins.
The chapels are described in anticlockwise order, beginning to the right of the entrance. The aisle faces of the arcade piers have funerary monuments which are worth examining.
Chapel of St Vincent FerrerEdit
The first chapel on the right is dedicated to St Vincent Ferrer, and is the Cappella Fantoni. The altarpiece, about 1600, is considered to be anonymous although it used to be attributed to Domenico Cresti, Il Passignano.
The aedicule has a pair of Corinthian columns in black marble supporting a segmental pediment with modillions. The walls have lost their decoration.
The floor has interesting heraldic shields of Florentine families in polychrome marble inlay, and includes the entrance to the vault of the Grillo family.
Chapel of St Philip BeniziEdit
The second chapel on the right is dedicated to St Philip Benizi, and is the Cappella Firenzola.
The altarpiece of the saint and the wall frescoes are by Orazio Gentileschi (the attribution of the altarpiece is not certain, and is perhaps better described as being of the Tuscan school). The side walls depict scenes from the legend of the apostles Simon and Jude.
There is a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Pompei on the altar; this is a popular devotion in Rome, brought by immigrants from the Naples area since the latter part of the 19th century.
The next nave bay does not have a chapel, but instead a vestibule for the sacristy. Over the sacristy door used to be a statue of a young St John the Baptist in 15th century Florentine style. It had been attributed to Donatello, which seemed likely because of both the style and the subject, but is now attributed to Michelangelo. This ascription relies on documentary evidence. This statue is now on display in the church's museum, with other masterpieces from the church such as two statues of the young Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Here is a monument commemorating Pope Clement XII, with a good portrait bust by Filippo Della Valle.
Chapel of St JeromeEdit
The third chapel on the right hand side is dedicated to St Jerome, and is the Cappella Mancini. The altarpiece depicting St Jerome as a Hermit in the Desert is by Santi di Tito. The side walls have St Jerome Writing the Vulgate in his Study by Ludovico Cardi Il Cigoli, and a Construction of the Church with St Jerome by Passignano. The church depicted seems to be as planned by Michelangelo.
The vault frescoes are by the Florentine artist Stefano Pierri.
Chapel of St Philip NeriEdit
The fifth chapel on the right is dedicated to St Philip Neri, and is the Cappella Torriani. The architect of the 18th century interior was Ferdinando Fuga, and it differs from the other nave chapels in that there is a little cupola with a lantern instead of a barrel vault.
The altarpiece used to be a copy of a picture of the saint by Carlo Maratta, but this has been removed. (It had itself replaced the original, which had been "obtained" by a Florentine nobleman. A photo of this is here .) Now there is a cross-reliquary containing a relic of the saint on the altar, and a recently installed figurative bronze portrait cameo of him. This is by Giuseppe Ducrot, 2002.
On the next pier is a very fine memorial to Francesca Calderini Pecori Riccardi, 1655 by Antonio Raggi. The upper-body sculpture of her is accompanied by a pair of very realistic weeping putti (the left hand one is using a cloth to wipe his eyes or blow his nose).
Also here is a memorial to Gaetano Forti, 1771. This has an unusual and very good cameo portrait.
Chapel of SS Cosmas and DamianEdit
The sixth chapel on the right, in the end of the transept, is dedicated to SS Cosmas and Damian and is the Cappella Merli.
The altarpiece of SS Cosmas and Damian at the Stake, by Salvator Rosa 1667, is a very fine painting.
The side walls here have two memorials with portrait busts. The one on the right is to Ottaviano Acciaiuoli 1659 by Ercole Ferrata, and the other to Ottavio Corsini 1641 by Alessandro Algardi. The former artist was imitating the latter.
Chapel of Our Lady of MercyEdit
The chapel to the right of the sanctuary is dedicated to Our Lady, and is spectacularly frescoed. Unfortunately, the rain getting in has caused serious damage.
The altarpiece is a fresco fragment, much restored and now faded, by Filippino Lippi. This used to be in a street shrine in Vicolo delle Palle nearby, until brought into the church in 1640. The story attached to it is that a man playing boules lost badly, threw a boule at the image in fury and was paralyzed as a result for forty days. (The word palle means "balls" in Italian -in the anatomical sense as well!)
The ornate bronze frame of the icon is by Marco Gamberucci.
The frescoes are by Agostino Ciampelli. One side wall has Our Lady's birth, and the other her death. The vault shows her coronation in heaven, and the lunettes show The Annunciation and The Visitation. The pier pilasters have portraits of prophets.
Chapel of the CrucifixEdit
To the left of the sanctuary is a chapel dedicated to the Crucifix, which is the Cappella Sacchetti. It was decorated by Giovanni Lanfranco with frescoes, paintings and stucco work in 1623.
The side wall frescoes depict Christ in Gethsemane and Christ Carrying the Cross. They are masterpieces, especially the former. The lunettes depict The Arrest of Christ and The Mocking of Christ. The cupola pendentives show prophets, and the cupola itself has The Ascension of Christ.
Chapel of St Mary MagdaleneEdit
The left hand end of the transept contains an altar dedicated to St Mary Magdalene , with two impessive Corinthian columns in alabaster. The altarpiece of The Penitential Magdalene is attributed to Astolfo Petrazzi, 1620 (this is apparently not certain).
Here are monuments to Antonio Barberini 1629, and Pietro de' Rossi di Foglia, 1743.
Chapel of St Francis of AssisiEdit
The fifth chapel on the left is dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, and is the Cappella Scarlatti. The architect was Della Porta, and the altarpiece of the saint is by Santi di Tito .
The wall fresco panels showing scenes from the saint's life are by Niccolò Circignani, Il Pomarancio; his signature was revealed during recent restoration work.
Outside is a good Baroque funerary monument to Gregorio Capponi, 1746 designed by Ferdinando Fuga and sculpted by Michelangelo Slodtz. (The sculptor was French, and his real name was René-Michel Slodtz.) Also here is a memorial to Gerolamo Sanminiati dei Bardi, 1733 by Filippo Della Valle
Chapel of St Anthony the GreatEdit
The fourth chapel on the left is dedicated to St Anthony of Egypt, and is the Cappella Bacelli. The altarpiece of the saint was by Ciampelli, the frescoes of the life of St Lawrence by Antonio Tempesta and the two depictions of SS Peter and Paul by Giovanni Angelo Canini.
The chapel contains funerary monuments decorated by fat little cherubs carved by François Duquesnoy, who became famous for this niche-genre after migrating from Flanders to Rome in 1618.
Here is a monument to Marco Panvini Rosati, 1817 by Pietro Tenerani and also to Adelaide Leonori 1903.
The third chapel on the left has been the baptistry since the church's construction. Baptism here was reserved to Florentine expatriates, until the suppression of the extra-territorial parish for them and its replacement by a standard territorial parish in 1906.
Chapel of St Mary Magdalene de' PazziEdit
The second chapel on the left is dedicated to the Florentine visionary nun St Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi, and is the Cappella Cavalcanti.
This chapel was fitted out by Della Porta, and has an altarpiece of the saint having a vision which is by Francesco Corradi about 1600. The side wall frescoes are attributed to Agostino Ciampelli, while the vault is Giovanni Balducci, Il Cosci.
Here is a memorial to Luigi Valentini, a physician, 1827.
Chapel of St SebastianEdit
Museo di Arte SacraEdit
As mentioned above, the parish has generously created a small museum to display the various treasures of sacred art formerly kept locked away in the sacristy. It is a small collection, but an impressive one, and is kept in a purpose-built structure opened in 2001. The museum's collection includes 48 works on display, and 20 in storage:
- A marble statue of San Giovanni Battista , attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti;
- An oval marble tondo of the Madonna and Child with St. Anne, by Pierino da Vinci;
- A marble bust of Antonio Cepparello by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini;
- A marble bust of Antonio Coppola, by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini;
- A marble bust of Pier Cambi by Pompeo Ferrucci;
- A Bronze crucifix by Antonio Raggi;
- A fresco of a seated Madonna and Child, attributed to Daniele da Volterra;
- An oil painting of The preaching of John the Baptist by Giovanni Maria Bottalla Raffaellino;
- An English bronze bell inscribed "Magister Petrus", twelfth century ;
- An oil painting of Madonna and Child , attributed to Pompeo Batoni and school;
- A large silver monstrance by Luigi Valadier, second half of the eighteenth century;
- A wooden wall tabernacle, first half of the seventeenth century;
- An oil painting of St. Philip Neri and St. Charles Borromeo, seventeenth century;
- A reliquary in silver and gilded bronze containing the foot of Santa Maria Maddalena, base attributed to Benvenuto Cellini , silversmith of Roman foot of the seventeenth century;
- A selection of reliquaries (arm, urn, torso) from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century;
- A selection of mixed media monstrances polychrome from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century;
- An icon of the crucifixion, nineteenth century, a gift of Giulio Andreotti .
The church is no longer open all day. The opening times are:
Daily 7:25 to 12:00, 17:00 to 19:00.
Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website (January 2018):
Weekdays 7:15 and 18:30 (not Friday, and Saturday 19:00 for Sunday);
Sundays 8:30, 10:30 (main parish Mass), 12:00, 18:00 (English), 19:00.
At 17:30 on Friday there is a Holy Hour in honour of Divine Mercy, replacing the evening Mass.
The faithful are allowed to bring their pets here to be blessed at a Benedizione degli Animali twice a year. The first date is 17 January, the feast-day of St Anthony of Egypt, and takes place at 18:00. The second is on the following Sunday after the 10:30 Mass.
At Easter, an annual ceremony where lambs are blessed also takes place here.
Youtube video "Mille Passus", part 1 (part 2 is not on Youtube yet.)
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