Basilica of Sant'Agostino, Rome

Facade of Sant'Agostino, by Giacomo di Pietrasanta (1483)
Interior of S. Agostino, Rome, with nave and High Altar

Sant'Agostino is a Roman Catholic church in the piazza of the same name near Piazza Navona, in the rione Sant'Eustachio, of Rome, Italy. It is one of the first Roman churches built during the Renaissance.


The construction the church was funded by Guillaume d'Estouteville, Archbishop of Rouen and Cardinal Camerlengo (1477-1483).[1] The façade was built in 1483 by Giacomo di Pietrasanta, using travertine taken from the Colosseum. The design of the church is attributed to the late 15th century architect Baccio Pintelli, with later 18th century restorations of the interior by Luigi Vanvitelli.[2] It is a plain work of the early Renaissance style.[3]

The Titulus S. Augustini has been held by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard since 2006. Furthermore, it is the station church of the first Saturday in Lent.


Madonna di Loreto, by Caravaggio

The most famous work of art presently in the church is the Madonna di Loreto in the Cavalletti Chapel, an important Baroque painting by Caravaggio.[4] The church also contains a Guercino canvas of Saints Augustine, John the Evangelist and Jerome; a fresco of the Prophet Isaiah by Raphael; and the statues of the Saint Anne and Virgin with Child, by Andrea Sansovino and of the Madonna del Parto (Our Lady of Childbirth) by his pupil, Jacopo Sansovino. The latter sculpture, based, according to a legend, on an ancient statue of Agrippina holding Nero in her arms, is reputed by tradition to work miracles in childbirth. The statue is laden with thank-offerings and always surrounded by offerings of flowers and candles. In 1616, the 17th-century Baroque artist Giovanni Lanfranco decorated the Buongiovanni Chapel (in the left transept) with three canvases and a ceiling fresco of the Assumption. The church also houses Melchiorre Caffà's sculpture "St. Thomas of Villanova Distributing Alms", completed by his mentor Ercole Ferrata.


The church contains the tomb of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, that of Fiammetta, lover of Cesare Borgia and a famous courtesan, and that of Olav Trondsson, archbishop of Norway 1459 - 1473. His tombstone has the inscription "CVI DEDERAT SACRAM MERITO NORVEGIA SEDEM HIC TEGIT OLAVI FRIGIDVS OSSA LAPIS", meaning: "Here a cold stone covers the bones of Olav, to whom Norway rightly gave the holy chair."[5]

The inscriptions found in S. Agostino, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella.[6]

In 1741, Pietro Bracci designed and sculpted the polychrome tomb of Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali, who died on 15 January 1737.[7]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sant'Agostino (Rome).
  1. S. Miranda, list of Cardinal Chamberlains of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved: 2016-03-21.
  2. New Guide of Rome, Naples and Their Environs, By Mariano Vasi and Antonio Nibby, page 105.
  3. Rendina, Claudio (2000). La grande enciclopedia di Roma. Rome: Newton Compton.
  4. John Varriano, Caravaggio: The Art of Realism (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2010), pp. 44-46. John T. Spike, Caravaggio: Catalogue of Paintings (New York-London: Abbeville Press, 2010), pp. 148-150.
  5. Fjellbu, A., et al. (eds.) (1955). Nidaros erkebispestol og bispesete 1153 - 1953. Oslo, Land og kirke. Forcella, p. 15, no. 31.
  6. V. Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiese e d' altre edifici di Roma, dal secolo XI fino al secolo XVI Volume V (Roma: Fratelli Bencini, 1875), pp. 1-112. [in Italian and Latin]
  7. Forcella, p. 103, no. 307.


Coordinates: 41°54′03″N 12°28′27″E / 41.90083°N 12.47417°E / 41.90083; 12.47417

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