The church stands in the Borgo district, near the Vatican, on the site of the church built in the eighth century by the will of King Ine of Sassia and dedicated by him to the Virgin. The king had the sacred building built together with a hospice for pilgrims of the Saxon "nation". Destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, the church was largely rebuilt, after the sack of Rome in 1527, by Antonio Sangallo the Younger (1538 - 1544), and completed during the pontificate of Pius V. Since then it took the name of Santo Spirito in Sassia. The façade is attributed to Ottaviano Mascherino, who executed it on commission from Pope Sixtus V, according to a design by Sangallo. It is entirely plastered, on two different orders: the first has six pilasters including the portal and four niches; the second has four, including a goggle surmounted by the pope's coat of arms.The interior, with a wide nave with five chapels on each side and a large apse, is characterized by an elegance of lines and a rich pictorial decoration.The polychrome wooden coffered ceiling was designed by Antonio Sangallo the Younger and has strong similarities with that of Palazzo Farnese, by the same author.
In the apsidal basin, frescoed in 1582 by Jacopo Zucchi, a pupil of Giorgio Vasari, the glorious Redeemer on the clouds is depicted. Under Christ, saints and angels crown the shining dove of the Holy Spirit, which descends into the gallery below, where a wide perspective frame formed by precious columns and arches forms the background to the representation of Pentecost.
Noteworthy is the fifteenth-century bell tower probably built on a design by Baccio Pontelli or Giovannino de’ Dolci between 1470 and 1476.
Photo credits: Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia official site
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