Church of Saint Louis of the French in Rome

Church of Saint Louis of the French in Rome
Church of Saint Louis of the French in Rome

In the history of Europe, the city of Rome has always played a very prominent role since, since ancient times, Rome was the focus from which Roman culture was born and spread, in addition to the fact that the city houses in its within the Vatican States make it a benchmark for the art world since the link between art and church seems undeniable. In this sense we can understand how important foci or colonies of other European countries arose in the Italian city, whether they were Spanish, German or French; each of these colonies, so to speak, had a representative monument of their country of origin that at that time could be similar to the current embassies since it was the reference of each of the foreign homelands.


The church of San Luis de los Franceses, which we analyze here today, is one of those churches that served as a representation for foreigners in Rome. The temple was built in the center of the city, in a square that bears the same name and is not too far from the famous Piazza Navona. The temple is consecrated to Saint Mary and Saints Dionysius Areopagite and Saint Louis, King of France and was built in the early years of the 16th century according to the designs of Giacomo della Porta.

Della Porta (1540 – 1602) was one of the most prolific architects in the city of Rome. fromFrom Lombardy, the architect began his training with Michelangelo and later with Vignola, which would already bring him some recognition that helped him make a place for himself in the artistic panorama of the time. However, in San Luis de los Franceses della Porta, he only de alt with the original design since the construction was carried out by the architect Domenico Fontana (1543 – 1607). The future Clement VII, who at that time was Cardinal Julius de' Medici, also participated in the construction of the temple, and the Valois family intervened in the construction or rather in the financing of the temple, without whom the French church would never have been completed.

In architecture we can observe a great incursion of typical symbols of France in this way we find in the niches of the main façade sculptures of saints such as Saint Clotilde, Saint Joan of Valois or Charlemagne himself. Inside we find a temple with a Latin cross plan and three naves with multiple side chapels.

It is precisely these chapels that have given the temple great recognition since in one of them the famous frescoes of Santa Cecilia made by Domenichino are preserved and in another of the chapels –The Contarelli Chapel – are the famous paintings by the Baroque artist Caravaggio that were painted between 1599 and 1600.

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