San Francesco a Ripa

San Francesco a Ripa
Basic information
Location Rome, Italy
Geographic coordinates Coordinates: 41°53′06″N 12°28′23″E / 41.885127°N 12.473186°E / 41.885127; 12.473186
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Trastevere, Rome
Architectural description
Architect(s) Onorio Longhi
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Baroque
Groundbreaking 12th century
Completed 1681-1701

San Francesco a Ripa is a church in Rome, Italy. It is dedicated to Francis of Assisi because the adjacent convent accommodated him, while the term Ripa refers to the nearby river-edge of the Tiber.


The origins of this church are related to Franciscan convent existing in the Trastevere quarter of Rome since the 12th centuries. This had an annexed 1231 church dedicated to Saint Blaise (San Biagio). This church was decorated with the (now lost) St Francis cycle by Pietro Cavallini. This cycle probably served as prototype for the famous Legend of St Francis frescoes, ascribed to Giotto di Bondone, in the Upper Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. The construction of the present church was begun in 1603 by Onorio Longhi, starting from the apse. The facade was finished in 1681-1701 with design by Mattia de Rossi. From 1873 to 1943 the church was used as barracks by the Bersaglieri.


Gian Lorenzo Bernini's statue Blessed Ludovica Albertoni in the Paluzzi-Albertoni chapel
Interior of the church

In the first chapel of the right, there are frescoes by Fra Emanuele da Como and monument to Cardinal Michelangelo Ricci by Domenico Guidi. In second, Domenico Maria Muratori frescoed events from the life of ‘’San Giovanni from Capestrano’’ (1725). In the third chapel, is an altarpiece (1685) by Stefano Maria Legnani. In the transept is the chapel of the Rospigliosi-Pallavicini, started by Nicolas Michetti and completed by Ludovico Rusconi in 1725. Inside the altarpiece depicts San Pietro d' Alcantara and San Pasquale Baylon painted by Tommaso Chiaro and the funeral monuments of Stefano and Lazzaro Pallavicini, Maria Camilla, and Giambattista Rospigliosi based on designs of Michetti. The main altar was completed in 1746. The Saint Francis is attributed to Fra Diego da Careri, the Trinity canvas by Paris Nogari.

In the left transept, the chapel Paluzzi-Albertoni designed by Giacomo Mola (1622-1625). Inside this chapel is one of Bernini’s masterpieces, his Beata Ludovica Albertoni (1671-1675). This sculpture readily recalls the recumbent Santa Teresa in Ecstasis in Santa Maria della Vittoria. Behind the statue is a painting of Saint Anna and the Virgin by Giovanni Battista Gaulli. In third chapel on the left is a bust of Laura Frangipani sculpted by Andrea Bolgi (1637), on the forehead wall bust by the Orazio Mattei attributed to Lorenzo Ottoni. In the second chapel, frescoes by Giovanni Battista Ricci. To the center an Annunciation (1534) by Francesco Salviati. The tomb of Giuseppe Paravicini, an ancestor of the Emperor Napoleon I of France, was sculpted by Camillo Rusconi. In the first chapel is a painting by Marten de Vos (1555), to the right is an Assumption by Antonio della Corna, on the left, a Birth of the Virgin (1620) by Simon Vouet.

Notable also is a copy of an alleged portrait of St. Francis by the friar Margaritone d'Arezzo: if confirmed, it would be the first true portrait in the history of Italian arts (the original is in the Pinacoteca Vaticana). The church houses also, in the cell where the saint lived, a black stone he had used as a cushion. In the garden of the friary is an orange tree, which according to the tradition was planted by St Francis.

The square in front of the church has one Ionian column erected by Pope Pius IX, taken from the ruins of Veii.


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