Among the baroque churches, the Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is often unjustely forgotten because many of them are famous for their size and for their scenic location.
The Spanish Trinitarian Fathers commissioned at Francesco Borromini to built the church and the convent. He worked there in a first period from 1638 to 1642 and resumed his project until his death in 1667 leaving the prospect under construction.
The scenographic façade is the last work of the architect and it presents a serpentine course also in the belltower. At the centre of the façade is the statue of Saint Charles Borromeo by Antonio Raggi. Because of its reduced dimension, Romans called it San Carlino, it is said its area is as big as one of the four pillars sustaining Saint Peter’s dome.
The oval shaped interior is one of the first Borromini’s achievements and it is divided by a giant order of columns.The trabeation runs for the entire perimeter, flexing at the apse and at the lateral curved sectors, giving a great continuity to the small area. It has an elliptical coffered dome elegantly decorated with esagonal, octagonal and cross-shaped stucco work that becomes smaller to the top, thus profusing an optical illusion of a greater depth.
Next to the church is the closter on two levels, with an octagonal plan at coveted corners, masterpiece of harmony and proportion.
The Quirinale Palace and square
The church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
The Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria
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