It was my last full day in Rome. The sun was shining and I still had so much I wanted to do. That night I was having dinner with my new friend Dawn (the American who married an Italian man and had two kids) and her family. This would be after a few last minutes stops and a trip to the modern art museum.
My friend Caroline knew where I was staying and told me I was right around the corner from something I just had to see.
The Convent of the Capuchins
Il Convento dei Cappuccini
The Capuchins are an order of Franciscans. Pope Urban XIII commissioned Santa Maria della Concezione, in 1626, for his brother Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was a Capuchin. There is a monastery, church, museum, and famous crypt, and it's just off Piazza Barbarini.
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini
Architect Antonio Casoni
built 1626 - 1631
There are famous paintings by Guido Reni and others, in the church, but unfortunately the church was closed for renovations.
Fortunately, what I was really there to see was the famous crypt of the Capuchins. The bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars, collected from the 16th to 19th century, were made into incredible mosaics and decorative displays ... even chandeliers! There are also rooms that utilize mostly a particular bone ... like femurs.
You aren't supposed to take photos, so these are the postcards I bought. I couldn't find a photographers name on them.
Another postcard ...
Here is a short video I found on Youtube that shows more of the crypt and explains the origins of the name of our old Italian favorite, "Cappuccino."
It all seems strange, but there is a beauty to it, as well ... and messages about time, and the fragility of life. A lot of messages and meanings can be taken from this place, but one that is written in the crypt reads ...
"What you are now, we once were;
what we are now, you shall be."
The museum was full of relics and artifacts belongning to various Franciscan Saints. There was a painting by Caravaggio of St. Frances in Prayer, or it was a copy of an original? It was all unclear. The "original" is housed at the Piazza Barberini. Either way ... it's a beautiful painting!
Here is the Piazza Barberini version ...
St. Frances in Prayer
Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
In order to go to Maxxi, the modern art museum, I would be taking a tram North from just above Piazza del Popolo. Since I was right there, how could I not stop in to Santa Maria del Popolo to visit the Caravaggios, Berninis and Pinuricchios?
Santa Maria del Popolo
Façade by Bernini
Apse by Bramante
Della Rovere Chapels
Frescoes by Pinturicchio
Cappella Basso della Rovere (?)
This is an interesting sculpture ...
by Carlo Fontana 1682 - 1687
The Assumption and Four Doctors of the Church
by Carlo Maratta
Chapel of the Visitaion
designed by Bernini
The Visitation by Giovanni Maria Morandi
Angels by Ercole Ferrata and Arrigo Giardé
The Chigi Chapel
Designed by Raphael
Daniel (see the lion behind him?)
by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Habakkuk and the Angel
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
God the Father in Benediction
Chigi Chapel Dome mosaic by Venetian artist,
after drawings by Raphael
There are two amazing paintings by caravaggio in the church, in the Cerasi Chapel. The Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifiction of St. Peter. There was a guard standing by, and you can't take photos, unfortunately. Here is a video/slideshow of all the various Caravaggios in Rome, including the two I couldn't photograph here, at Santa Maria del Popolo.
OH! And here is Piazza del Popolo and a little of its history, in this Youtube video. It's worth a look!
To read more about the Capuchins, from their official page, click here.
To see pictures of the opening of the capuchin museum, click here.
After getting my fill of the Baroque, it was time to head up to the ultra modern Maxxi, then dinner with friends. The following morning I'd be off to Assisi in Umbria.
Hope you are enjoying the Italy photos. I never imagined I'd still be posting my Rome pictures in July!
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
Blessings and light!
Have an amazing wonderful weekend!