The rear of the church of San Carlo al Corso is emblazoned with the coat of arms of Pope Pius XI (r. 1922-39). There is also a large plaque, which proclaims that in 1879 Achille Ratti (the pope's birth name) celebrated his first mass in this church.
The design of the coat of arms is quite unusual. There is no shield and the fierce-looking eagle, who appears to be sporting the papal tiara, grips the traditional crossed keys with its talons.
The pope's coat of arms that adorns Palazzo della Cancelleria takes the conventional format.
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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