The Church of St Ignatius of Loyola is an oasis of calm in Rome’s tourist central showcasing wonderful trompe-l’oeil frescoes

A couple of minutes’ walk from the crowds surrounding the Pantheon, Piazza Sant’Ignazio is an oasis of peace and quiet, dominated by the towering facade of one of the city’s most lavish baroque churches. Rome has so many must-see sights – the Sistine Chapel, the Forum, the Colosseum – that the endless queuing and expensive entry charges can get a bit much. So it comes as a welcome surprise to wander into the wonderful Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, named after the founder of the Jesuit order, whose tomb is in a side chapel, without queuing or paying.

The first thing most visitors do is look up at the sumptuous frescoes that decorate the huge ceiling and the church’s cupola. But on the outside, there is no dome, and this complex fresco is actually a trompe-l’oeil, originally painted in 1685 by Andrea Pozzo to hide the fact that the Jesuits could not afford to build a dome.

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Source: The Guardian

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