The 17th century Baroque church of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Fontana di Trevi, which stands within the shadow of the Trevi Fountain, has a rather curious claim to fame, housing as it does the praecordia of twenty-two popes.
The praecordia are the internal organs which are removed when a pope is embalmed. The first pope to have his praecordia preserved in the church was Sixtus V (r. 1585-90), the last was Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903). Two plaques in the sanctuary record the names of all twenty-two popes.
Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio was founded in the 10th century, but the present church was built by Martino Longhi the Younger (1602-60) between 1646 and 1650 on the orders of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-61), who served as chief minister to the French kings, Louis XIII and Louis XIV. The facade sports the cardinal's coat of arms.
Blogging about Rome,
its art, history and culture.
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 and
small-group walking tours
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