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Church of Santi Domenico e Sisto (San Sisto Nuovo)

Chiesa dei Santi Domenico e Sisto (San Sisto Nuovo)

In the Rione Monti, opposite the Torre delle Milizie, a scenic 17th-century staircase with two flights leads to a church of ancient foundation, enriched with precious works of art in later centuries. The present church, dedicated to the founder of the Dominican Order and Pope Sixtus II, was built together with the adjoining convent on the site of the earlier Santa Maria a Magnanapoli at the behest of Pope Pius V, following the insistent requests of the Dominican nuns. Their monastery of San Sisto, on the Appian Way, was in fact located in a place infested with malaria, which is why, when the sisters moved in, the new church was also called San Sisto Nuovo. Started in 1569, however, construction took a long time to complete, almost a century, involving a number of architects – such as Giacomo della Porta, Nicola and Orazio Torriani, and Vincenzo della Greca, who finished the façade in 1655.

The tall façade has four niches with statues (two of which are attributed to Stefano Maderno) and is crowned with eight flaming candelabra. In between the doorcase and the pediment is the Dominicans’ symbol: a dog with a burning flashlight in its mouth, representing fidelity to the Gospel message and ardor in defending it. This is a pun on the Latin name of the Dominicans – “Domini canes”, or “dogs of the Lord”. The interior is a single nave, with a rich decoration including polychrome marbles and 17th-century frescoes. Particularly striking is the sculptural group “Noli me tangere” by Antonio Raggi, a faithful collaborator of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a frequent executor of the master’s models, as in this case. The the statues of Christ and St Mary Magdalen are in the Alaleona Chapel, designed by Bernini who also executed the church’s high altar. A 15th-century fresco discovered fortuitously at the end of the 18th century is in the third chapel on the left. Attributed to Benozzo Gozzoli, a pupil of Fra Angelico, it depicts the Madonna Enthroned.

The adjoining monastery of the Dominican nuns was confiscated by the Italian state in 1870; in the 1930s it became the seat of the Pontifical College of St. Thomas (now the Pontifical University), nicknamed Angelicum, after which the square is named. Gathered around a large 16th-century courtyard with pilasters and pilasters, it houses in a ground-floor hall an important triptych by Lippo Vanni.

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POINT (12.4875359 41.8959484)

For the timetable of the masses and visiting conditions, please consult the contacts.

06 6702 200.
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Chiesa Ss. Domenico e Sisto (San Sisto Nuovo), Largo Angelicum, 1
Largo Angelicum, 1
41° 53' 45.4128" N, 12° 29' 15.1296" E


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