Where am I? Wednesday is a new feature I’m trying on for size and just hoping it’s not too big in the chest as per usual. Last Wednesday I challenged my social media followers to guess where the below picture was taken. It wasn’t too long before someone revealed the answer: The church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Only he did it in Italian so it was way cooler.
Sant’Agnese in Agone
WHO: The first designs were brought to us by the father and son team of Girolamo and Carlo Rainaldi. After a year of just sucking and pissing people off, the Rainaldis were replaced by Francesco Borromini. Then a bit later Borromini was about to get canned when he found out they were investigating him for fraud and he was like, “I’m outta here!” and guess what? The Rainaldis got their jobs back.
According to Wikipedia, the internet’s leading source for 100% accurate information, says that the reason Borromini resigned was because the people didn’t like his designs anymore and became sad. Sounds to me like Wikipedia is part of the coverup.
WHAT: A 17th century church located on the site where early christian Saint Agnes was martyred at the age of 13 in the year 304. The year 304. It always amazes me to think of how old Italian civilization is. You know what was happening where I live in the year 304? Well, I don’t either but it was probably just a bear shitting in the woods.
WHERE: Piazza Navona, Rome – home of the world’s best gelato in case you were wondering and I’m willing to fight you if you disagree.
WHEN: Construction on this church took place between 1652 and 1672.
WHY: Pope Innocent X had a family palace in Piazza Navona and needed a family chapel… because there weren’t enough churches in Rome already. Puh-leaseee.
- FUN FACT: Since the Pope’s palace was directly adjacent to the church, there was designed a portal through which the family could see inside the church and “attend mass” without ever leaving their house. C’mon, Pope! Your house is literally up against the church, can you really not just walk on over?*
- FUN FACT: The word ‘Agone’ in the title doesn’t refer to ‘Agony’ as we know it or the method in which Agnes was martyred (Refusing to marry, at the age of 12, the man her dad chose for her thereby condemning herself to death. Then being taken to a brothel to be raped because Roman law prevented the execution of virgins. Oh, it gets better. Then getting beheaded with a sword after her body failed to burn at the stake.) but rather refers to the term used way back when for a place where athletic events took place, in this case ancient Piazza Navona.
- FUN FACT: The skull of Saint Agnes is preserved and on display inside the church.
This was the first church I ever wandered into on my first trip to Rome and I filed in behind a group of nuns. I didn’t learn about the skull on display until today while I was researching this. I’m quite disappointed that I missed it but there’s always next time! Another church, another piece of a really old corpse that we just have to assume is who they say it is because they all come from the times before DNA analysis.
*Now I know popes tend to be pretty old and feeble so maybe he actually couldn’t and if that’s indeed the case I’m rescinding my statement. But still…
What religious relics have you seen on your travels? Let me know below!
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