Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tour of the Chiesa Nuova and Oratorio di San Filippo Neri, Feb 2012

oratorio (oratory) di san filippo neri built in 1572 by Pope Gregory XIII Ludovisi. Facade restored by Borromini in 1637.

a borromini designed pilaster, no corner was left unturned!

the bell tower of the church 

one of the two inner cloisters, this one filled with orange trees

one of the library rooms in the building, housing old city documents

one of the old books which anyone, with a reason, can use. wills, deeds, city plans of buildings are kept here.


one of the drawings of the facade in the old books

a great window designed by borromini, was very cool. had the outer frame in brown and at a right angle was an inner arched window, leading off to who knows where

 same library, oval shaped, borromini designed. lots of light coming in.

some of the oldest books in the library

a Borromini designed doorframe

the oratory  (being restored)

fresco ceiling of oratory

Borromini's alternating columns, one fat at top and one thin at top. He often used this design in his churches.

balcony area of oratory where people who didn't want to be seen could listen to music. the screen was very pretty in wood.


incredible wooden library from 1581, the oldest in Rome, which houses a collection of about 200 of  san filippo nero's books  in a specially built wooden cabinet designed by Borromini

gorgeous wooden ceiling designed by Borromini

borromini added his touch to some Roman columns. he couldn't leave anything without a flourish.

the columns with Borromini's base added

a second smaller cloister

a wild cardboard cut out of San Filippo which was carried in processions when he was too ill to go himself

San Filippo's confessional in his room of relics

original door to San Filippo's chapel

was once a tomb for san fillippo neri

very cool flooring in one of the rooms which is now a chapel which abuts the chapel in the church where his body is buried.

design changes depending on which way you look at it

chapel with the above flooring.  On the other side of the grating is where Filippo's  body is buried.

main altar in church of Chiesa Nuova

another photo of bell tower from different angle

Borromini's window frames, couldn't be simple, was framed 3 times

another wonderful borromini touch


facade of chiesa Nuova
Went on a great tour of the Borromini designed complex of the Oratorio of San Filippo Neri and the Chiesa Nuova.  Church was built on foundations of an earlier church from the 1200's and was consecrated in 1599.  Oratory dates back to mid-later 1572 and was built for Filippo Neri.   Filippo Neri was apparently a cheerful soul. He came from an aristocratic florentine family,  and he rejected being groomed for a job with the family but instead wanted to do good works for the poor,  help the sick, etc. He went about dedicating his life to these things as a lay person but eventually became a priest in 1551. His oratory was originally built for a congregation of lay people dedicated to doing these good works and was more like a meeting hall than a monastery or convent. The building was for  listening to music,  had libraries for reading and other rooms for praying.  It was connected in ingenious  ways by Borromini which one can see as you walk around the oratory. The oratory is now (since 1902) mostly used for storing city documents as well as as a research facility for people who need to consult these documents. Saint Philip Neri is a very popular Italian saint and his popularity continues to this day. When he was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV,  he was in good company with 4 others, among them Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis Xavier, and Isidore the Farmer(?)!   The Italians have a saying that that day 4 Spaniards and one saint were canonized.

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