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San Lorenzo in Lucina

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San Lorenzo in Lucina

Church of St Lawrence at Lucina
San Lorenzo in Lucina (Italian)
S. Laurentii in Lucina (Latin)
Facade of San Lorenzo in Lucina in1911
Basic information
Location Rome, Italy
Geographic coordinates
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Parish church, Titular church, minor basilica
Leadership vacant
Website Official website
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Groundbreaking 4th century
Length 65 metres (213 ft)
Width 16 metres (52 ft)
Width (nave) 18 metres (59 ft)

The Church of St Lawrence at Lucina (Italian: San Lorenzo in Lucina, Latin: S. Laurentii in Lucina) is a Roman Catholic parish, titular church, and minor basilica in central Rome, Italy. The church is located in Piazza San Lorenzo in the Rione Colonna, about two blocks behind the Palazzo Montecitorio, just off the Via del Corso.


The church is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, Roman deacon and martyr. The name Lucina comes from the fourth century Roman matron who gave permission for Christians to build a house of worship. Putatively Pope Marcellus I hid here during persecutions of Maxentius, while Pope Damasus I was elected here in 366. A church here was consecrated by Pope Sixtus III in the year 440 AD. The church was known as Titulus Lucinae, and thus is mentioned in the acts of the 499 synod of Pope Symmachus. It was first reconstructed under Pope Paschal II in the first decades of the 1100s.

In 1606, Pope Paul V placed the church under the order of Clerics Regular Minor. The interior was completely transformed by Cosimo Fanzago in the 17th century, converting the lateral aisles of the basilica structure into chapels. The ceiling then was frescoed by the Neapolitan Mometto Greuter.

In the 19th century a further restoration of the interior commissioned by Pope Pius I removed the Baroque decorations in the nave and replaced them with frescoes by Roberto Bompiani.

Charles Stewart, an officer in the Papal army who died in 1864, is buried within the church. He was the son of John Stewart, Prince Charles Edward Stuart's ("Charles III", the "Young Pretender") 'maestro di casa'. Charles had created John a baronet in 1784. The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Laurentii in Lucina, established in 684, is Malcolm Ranjith since November, 20 2010.

Art and architecture

Bust of Gabriel Fonseca by Bernini

In the rebuilding of 1650, the aisled basilical plan was destroyed and the side naves were replaced by Baroque chapels, which were then leased to noble families to decorate and to use as mausolea. This was done by inserting walls behind the arcade piers. The arcades themselves have solid square piers with imposts. The flat ceiling is coffered in squares, gilded and decorated with rosettes and has a painting of the Apotheosis of St Lawrence in the central panel. This ceiling was made in 1857, under Pope Pius IX.

Guido Reni's Christ on the Cross can be seen on the high altar, which also has six Corinthian columns of black marble. Below the altar is an reliquary in which is preserved the gridiron that St Lawrence was allegedly martyred on. The marble throne of Pope Paschal II, in the apse behind the altar, has an inscription recording the placement here of the relics of Lawrence of Rome. A Madonna and Child with John of Nepomuk and Archangel Michael by Onofrio Avellino hangs in the apse behind the high altar.

The Capella Fonseca, fourth on the right, was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Gabriele Fonseca, who was Pope Innocent X's (1644-1655) physician. The chapel has some fine busts by Bernini and his workshop, including a portrait of Fonseca to the left of the altar. This chapel also contains a painting by Giacinto Gimignani entitled Elisha Pouring Salt Into the Bitter Fountain that dates to 1664.

The French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) is buried in the second chapel on the right-hand side, and is commemorated with a monument donated by Chateaubriand in 1830.

The second chapel on the left has an altarpiece by Carlo Saraceni.

The fifth chapel on the left was designed and decorated by Simon Vouet. His two paintings depict Francis of Assisi; one shows him receiving his religious habit, the other his temptations. The altarpiece shows St. Francis Appearing to Giacinta Marescotti on her Deathbed by Marco Benefial.

The baptistery to the left of the entrance was designed in the 17th century by Giuseppe Sardi.

In the church is also the tomb of the composer Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710). Three years after the composer's death was placed there his portrait sculpted in Carrara marble by Pietro Francesco Papaleo (ca. 1642-1718). The portrait was a commission by the composer's nephew Felice Bernardo Ricordati and his pupil Bernardo Gaffi.




  • D. Mondini, "S. Lorenzo in Lucina", in: P. C. Claussan, D. Mondini, D. Senekovic, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050–1300, Band 3 (G-L), Stuttgart 2010, pp. 261–309, ISBN 978-3-515-09073-5
  • R. Krautheimer, Corpus basilicarum christianarum Romae. The early Christian basilicas of Rome, 2, Città del Vaticano 1959, 178–179.
  • M. E Bertoldi, "L'area archeologica di San Lorenzo in Lucina a Roma", Bollettino di archeologia, 13–15, 1992, 127–134.
  • M. E. Bertoldi, S. Lorenzo in Lucina (Le chiese di Roma illustrate. Nuova serie 28), Roma 1994.
  • Olof Brandt, "Sul battistero paleocristiano di S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Archeologia laziale XII (Quaderni di archeologia etrusco-italica 23), 1, Roma 1995, 145–150.
  • Olof Brandt, "La seconda campagna di scavo nel battistero di S. Lorenzo in Lucina a Roma. Rapporto preliminare", Opuscula Romana 20, 1996, 271-274.
  • Olof Brandt, "Un'iscrizione riutilizzata da S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana 70, 1994, 197–201.
  • G. De Spirito, "Basilica S. Laurentii in Lucina", Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae III, Roma 1996, 183–185.
  • M. E. Bertoldi, "Un documento di archivio sul battistero di S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Ultra terminum vagari. Scritti in onore di Carl Nylander a cura di Börje Magnusson et al., Roma 1997, 43–44.
  • Olof Brandt (ed.), "San Lorenzo in Lucina: The Transformations of a Roman Quarter." Skrifter Utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Athen / Acta Instituti Atheniensis Regni Sueciae. 4°, 61. Stockholm Rome 2012, ISBN 9789170421792.

External links

  • Official website of the Vicariate of Rome
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