The 17th century church of San Carlo ai Catinari (St Charles at the Bowlmakers) was commissioned by the Order of the Barnabites and largely funded by the Milanese community in Rome to honour their compatriot San Carlo Borromeo (1538-84), who was canonised by Pope Paul V (r. 1605-21) on November 1st, 1610.
The church was designed by Rosato Rosati (1559-1622) and built between 1612 and 1620. The façade was designed by Giovanni Battista Soria (1581-1651) and built between 1635 and 1638. It was financed by Cardinal Giambattista Leni, who is duly honoured in the inscription: IO ⋅ BAPTISTA ⋅ S ⋅ R ⋅ E ⋅ CARDINALIS ⋅ LENIVS ⋅ ARCHIPR ⋅ LATERAN ⋅ A ⋅ MDCXXXV(John Baptist Leni, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Arch-priest of the Lateran, in the year 1635).
The main entrance is surmounted by a fresco of St Charles Borromeo at prayer. Above it, crowned and in Gothic lettering, is a single word humilitas, which was the saint's motto.
The splendid dome of San Carlo ai Catinari is one of the largest in Rome. The internal decoration was part of the original design by Rosato Rosati. The inscription reads: ECCE SACERDOS QVI IN DEIBVS SVIS PLACVIT DEO ET IN TEMPORE IRACVNIAE FACTVS EST RECONCILIATIO(Behold, a priest who in his days pleased God and in a time of anger made reconcilation). The frescoes in the pendentives depict allegories of the four cardinal virtues (Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude), and are the work Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), better known, on account of his diminutive stature, as Domenichino.