Highlights of this tour

  • Piazza Navona
  • Masterpieces of Caravaggio at: San Luigi dei Francesi, Sant’Agostino, Santa Maria del Popolo
  • Cappella Chigi
  • Barcaccia Fountain at the Spanish Steps
  • Ecstasy of Santa Teresa by Bernini

THE GENIUS OF CARAVAGGIO & BERNINI

The Genius of Caravaggio & Bernini – The itinerary focuses on two of the brightest stars in the universe of art history, examining their cultural background, career, personal facts, style, techniques, artistic legacy.

This walking tour will also be the occasion for sketching the historical period, bringing to life many outstanding figures: popes, cardinals, patrons, models, colleagues and rivals in 17th century Rome.

Watching the intense paintings by Caravaggio, admiring the statues, fountains and elaborate chapels by Bernini you’ll be transported into the fascinating and exuberant world of Baroque art.

You’ll learn about the meaning of the word ‘baroque’ itself (in Portuguese it defines an irregular pearl), its differences with Renaissance art, its crucial role at the times of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

A word will be said about the enormous and long-lasting fortune of these two artists, although their life and personality were so totally different from one another, in Italy and abroad.

The Genius of Caravaggio & Bernini tour starts ideally with Piazza Navona, with the spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by Bernini for Pope Innocent X. You’ll learn about the vicissitudes of the construction plus some curious anecdotes.

Then we enter the very unconventional but deeply religious world of Caravaggio by visiting two churches: San Luigi dei Francesi (St Louis of the French) and Sant’Agostino.

Two major paintings, The Calling of Matthew at San Luigi dei Francesi and the Madonna di Loreto at Sant’Agostino, will be commented and discussed by your guide.

The third important work by Caravaggio, The Martyrdom of St Peter, can be admired inside Santa Maria del Popolo, that we shall reach walking along Via della Scrofa and Via di Ripetta.

Santa Maria del Popolo is also home to Cappella Chigi, designed by Raphael and completed by Bernini, a veritable treasure trove of masterpieces. Quoted by Dan Brown in Angels and Demons.

We walk now along Via del Babbuino to reach Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and briefly stop by the recently restored Barcaccia Fountain, work of collaboration between Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro, his father.

We finally reach Santa Maria della Vittoria, by the Quirinal, where we’ll end in glory – or, better, in ecstasy!
The Cornaro, a noble and powerful Venetian family, assist from their trompe l’oeil theater boxes to Saint Teresa de Avila’s ‘transverberation’. They seem to be commenting as if watching an opera…

Like on a stage, illuminated by a spot, in fact a hidden window, and by a shower of golden rays, Teresa is being pierced in the heart by a smiling angel. Her open lips and pose reflect the ecstatic bliss of her pain.
The mix of erotic and mystic feelings triggered by Bernini’s virtuoso rendering here are hard to forget.

This final unforgettable masterpiece will summon up our last reflections about the influence of melodrama on Baroque art and about its merging of painting, sculpture and architecture in a single artistic creation.

Cost of this tour

  • This tour lasts three hours and costs 280 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
  • For larger parties send us an email
  • This tour is not feasible on Sunday mornings.

Dress Code and advice

  • No sleeveless garments. no shorts.
  • Short sleeves and knee high are ok
  • Bring a hat and comfortable shoes or sandals in summer