The Baroque church of Sant' Agnese in Agone was commissioned by Pope Innocent X (r. 1644-55) and stands on the site of a much older church dedicated to St Agnes, who, according to popular belief, was martyred on this spot. There is a solitary statue of the saint perched high up on the facade of the church.
St Agnes (c.291 - c.304) was martyred when she was only twelve or thirteen years old. Her attribute is a lamb, probably on account of the similarity of her name to the Latin agnus (lamb). However, this is a false derivation, for Agnes comes from the Greek word meaning chaste.
St Agnes is the patron saint of maidens and virgins. Her feast day is on January 21st.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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