|Santa Caterina a Magnanapoli|
|English name:||St Catherine at Magnanapoli|
|Dedication:||St Catherine of Siena|
|Architect(s):||Carlo Maderno Soria|
|Artists:||Francesco Rosa, Carlo Marchionni|
|Address:|| Salita del Grillo 37 (Largo Magnanapoli)
|Phone:||06 67 95 100|
The church was founded c. 1575, and originally belonged to an adjacent convent of Dominican tertiary nuns who brought relics of St Catherine of Siena here. The convent has been built c. 1568 on Pope Pius V's initiative.
Construction of a proper church started in 1608 to a design by Carlo Maderno. It stopped in 1613. When it could finally be started again in 1628, it is likely that the intention was to continue according to Maderno's design. But he died the next year, and Giovanni Battista Soria was commissioned to complete the church. All the details of Maderno's design are not known, and Soria made at least some changes in the years 1631 to 1641.
The Military Ordinariate, whose headquarters are adjacent to the church, has taken it over, and it is now served by diocesan clergy. The convent was demolished in 1924; only the Torre del Milizie, which from 1619 belonged to it, still stands. The tower now belongs to the archaeological area Foro e Mercati di Traiano, Emperor Trajan's Forum and Market.
The double staircase leading to the portico was built in the 20th century, when the Via Nazionale was laid out. By the stairs is the Crypt of the Fallen of the First World War, constructed in 1934, with a bronze crucifix by Romano Romanelli. It is dedicated to the priests who were killed in the war.
The church has a single nave with three chapels on each side. The ornate decorations are mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The sanctuary is richly decorated in Baroque style. In the dome is the The Glory of the Eternal Father by Francesco Rosa. The ceiling is decorated with a Rococo fresco by Luigi Garzi, painted 1713, depicting the Glory of St Catherine. The high altar was made in 1787 by Carlo Marchionni. The tabernacle, made by Marchionni in the same year, is made of lapis lazuli, agate and gilded bronze. The side walls are decorated with stucco, depicting St Rose of Lima and St Agnes of Montepulciano, made by Pietro Bracci.
The sculptural group in coloured marble and stucco depicting the The Holy Spirit and the Ecstasy of St Catherine is by Melchiorre Caffà. The artist found his inspiration mainly in the works of Bernini - he was one of Bernini's pupils and worked for him for a few years - and in this case it is obvious that he was inspired by The Ecstasy of St Theresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria.
The first chapel on the right has a painting of the Communion of St Magdalene by Benedetto Luti.
In the third chapel on the right is a painting of St Dominic Reviving a Child by Biagio Puccini.
The second on the left has a painting of The Three Archangels by Giueseppe Passeri. Michael is shown as a young warrior, Raphael as a young man with curly hair, and Gabriel is portrayed as a women holding a lily, a symbol of Mary referring to the Annunciation. The same artist has painted scenes from the life of St Catherine of Siena by the entrance to the presbytery and a piece in the third chapel on the left.
In the third chapel on the left is the Madonna of the Rosary by Passeri. This is considered one of his best works.
In the corridor leading to the sacristy are remains of frescoes by Antoniazzo and his students. They were made for the room of St Catherine of Siena, and were placed in a now demolished oratory behind the church some time after 1637. Among the saints shown as St Bridget of Sweden and St Catherine of Alexandria.
The feast of St Catherine of Siena is celebrated with great solemnity on 29 April.