Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola)
A visit to view Jesuit lay brother Andrea Pozzo’s spectacular trompe l'oeil ceilings and frescoed walls in the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is a highlight of tours that focus on Rome’s baroque monuments and artists. In addition to Saint Ignatius, these tours generally include the churches Saint Andrew of the Thickets (Sant'Andrea delle Fratte), Saint Louis the French (San Luigi dei Francesi), and works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Michelangelo, and Raphael. You can also pair a visit to the church with a walking or Segway tour of Rome’s top attractions, including the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain.
The Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola was built in honor of the founder of the Jesuit order by the Jesuits themselves in the 1560s. Used as a private chapel for the Collegio Romano (the first Jesuit university) until 1650, the church was then expanded and finally consecrated in 1722, and today is considered among the most important baroque churches in Rome.
Things to Know Before You Go
There are markers on the marble floor inside the church indicating the best spots to stand to appreciate the ceiling’s optical illusions.
Photography without a flash is allowed inside the church.
Visitors must wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees to enter the church.
Tours of Rome's baroque churches and monuments require a bit of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.
There is a short flight of stairs at the entrance to the church, so it is not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.
How to Get There
Saint Ignatius is on Via della Caravita in the center of Rome, about halfway between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The church is easy to reach on foot while visiting nearby attractions, and it’s a short walk from Piazza Venezia, where a number of bus lines stop.
When to Get There
Rome’s most important churches can be crowded during the busy summer months, when the city is flooded with tourists. Try to visit the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy the magnificent frescoed ceiling in relative peace.
Other Highlights in the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola
The sumptuous interiors of the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola include an ornate apse and a number of side chapels, all elaborately decorated with paintings and sculpture dating from the 17th century. The most important works includeGlory of St. Aloysius Gonzaga by Le Gros, theAnnunciation by Della Valle, Monnot’s Monument to Pope Gregory XV, and the Medallion of Ludovico Ludovisi.
- Oratorio di San Francesco Saverio del Caravita
- Basilica di Santa Maria in Via Lata
- Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
- Column of Marcus Aurelius (Colonna di Marco Aurelio)
- Montecitorio Palace (Palazzo Montecitorio)
- Piazza della Rotonda
- Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument (Vittoriano)
- Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
- Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù)
- Piazza Venezia
- Largo di Torre Argentina
- Church of Saint Louis of the French (Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi)
- Vittoriano Museum Complex (Complesso del Museo Vittoriano)
- Catacombs of Rome (Catacombe di Roma)