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Sant'Egidio a Borgo

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Sant'Egidio a Borgo is a small early 18th century former confraternity church at Via del Pellegrino in Vatican City (despite its name).

The dedication is to St Giles.


The original foundation date of this church is uncertain, but probably in the 12th century in the context of the growth in popularity of the cult of the patron saint.

It is first listed in the Catalogo di Cencio Camerario in 1227, and next in the reign of Pope Nicholas III (1277-1280), in the context of the pope wanting to lay out a park for a new palace.

Back then the church was in the countryside outside the Leonine Walls, which had a gate where the Via di Porta Angelica meets the Bernini colonnade. This was the Porta Viridaria (sometimes given as the Porta Aurea), and the actual location of the church was known as Mons Geretulus. These names occur in early references to the church in documentary sources.

Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) gave it into the care of the Chapter of St Peter's in 1300.

In 1690 it was granted to a confraternity founded by one Francesco Quadroni from Orvieto, the Confraternita di Sant'Egdio (not to be confused with the more famous Communita based in Trastevere). This he established with the help of some pious inhabitants of the Borgo, in order to pray for and assist poor people suffering from malaria. As a result the church was rebuilt at the turn of the century in a Baroque style.

There was another restoration in 1862, removing many of the Baroque features.

From 1926 the church has been used by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary , who have been engaged in keeping the Vatican's collection of tapestries in repair.

Location and AppearanceEdit

The church is just north of Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri which you can visit, but you won't get any further past the Swiss Guard on duty at the entrance there without an entry permit to Vatican City.

There are no pictures or descriptions of this church online.

The Nolli map of 1748 shows a rectangular plan with two side chapels, entered from Via di Porta Angelica via a large longitudinal rectangular vestibule. The latter was almost as large as the church itself. Presumably in the 19th century restoration, the orientation of the church was later reversed and the entrance moved to the Via dei Pellegrini. The church is now part of a larger building, and lacks a separate architectural identity.

Inside, the side recesses contain two tombs. The right hand one, of 1713, is of Francesco Quadroni. The left hand one, of 1655, is of a canon of St Peter's named Antonio Ricci. 18th century stucco reliefs of SS Peter and Paul survive, flanking the main altar.

External linksEdit

Italian Wikipedia page

Nolli map (look for 1294)

Info.roma web-page

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