Countries Italy Rome Cultural Tours

17th Century Rome from Bernini and Borromini to Caravaggio, Pietro da Cortona and Poussin

The Baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources.

Jorge Luis Borges
Victoria Tate
Victoria Tate is the Founder and Director of Arterial, a company which brings artworks into the workplace. Victoria is an investor in arts orientated businesses and a Board Member at Furtherfield in London.  Victoria holds an MA in the History of Art from University College London where she specialised in 17th-century European art and 20th-century photography.
What's included...
  • Return flights on British Airways (economy) to Rome
  • 5 nights in the 4-star luxury Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel
  • 5 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 2 lunches and 1 drinks reception (lunch and dinner with wine, water and coffee included)
  • All church, museum & gallery entry tickets
  • The services of your lecturer and tour manager
  • A tour-guide headset system to make hearing the lecturer easier
  • Transport by luxury coach, as the itinerary requires
  • All tips and taxes
Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj
Getting about
Participants should be reasonably fit. There is a significant amount of
walking, standing and use of stairs.
The Contarelli Chapel is inside the French church in Rome, San Luigi dei Francesi, housing three paintings by Caravaggio, all of which were to represent various aspects of the Life of St Matthew.  The first two, The Calling of Saint Matthew and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew were installed by July 1600. The final painting, The Inspiration of Saint Matthew, was much more problematic. Caravaggio's first painting of the Inspiration was rejected as the saint sat cross-legged with bare, dirty feet. His second, which has a much 'glossier' saint, with the angel a suitably respectful distance away, took its place a little later. All three created a sensation in Rome on their unveiling.
One of Bernini's masterpieces takes pride of place in the Cornaro Chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria, The Ecstacy of St Theresa of Avila. Saint Theresa described her experience in her autobiography published less than a century before Bernini's sculpture ...

" I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying".
On your first evening in Rome, we are delighted to invite you to a drinks reception on the roof terrace of the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel where you are staying. The rooftop terrace overlooks Piazza Navona and gives you a view of Rome that very few have. Additionally, a member of the Roman nobility may join you at the reception.
.It was after the Council of Trent that new religious orders were formed with the express idea of taking the teachings of the Roman Catholic church far and wide, as part of the plan to counteract the effects of the Reformation. The main orders formed were the Jesuits, Oratorians and Theatines whose mother-churches are all in Rome and are exquisitely decorated. They are the Gesu, Santa Maria in Vallicella and  Sant'Andrea della Valle.
We have received an invite from a member of the Italian nobility who has a collection of 17th-century paintings, for you to visit his home for a reception. 
The church of Sant'Andrea, an important example of Roman Baroque architecture, was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini  who received the commission in 1658 from the former Cardinal Camillo Francesco Maria Pamphili, with the approval of Pope Alexander VII, Sant'Andrea was the third Jesuit church constructed in Rome, after the Church of the Gesù and Sant'Ignazio. 
Religious turmoil in the heart of Europe had a profound impact upon art in 17th-century Rome. Themes and styles collided: religion and order, science, exploration, curiosity and mysticism and superstition, papal patronage, power, and theatricality. This period saw a crisis of faith which was demonstrated through the celebration of martyrdom so gorily in churches such as San Stefano in Rotondo. This is a marked step change in style to mannerism with its excessive, overblown hyper-reality after the restraint of the Renaissance period.  Painters such as Caravaggio, Poussin, Guido Reni and the Carracci fraternity, exuded 'a language of broad gestures and vivid expressions meant to convey powerful emotions’.

This journey into seventeenth-century Rome looks at the artists including Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Poussin and Pietro da Cortona and architects including Bernini and Borromini, who represent the various styles of the Baroque in religious and secular sites such as the Palazzo Barberini and Galeria Borghese. The religious background and context are explored through visits to the churches of the religious orders of the Theatines, Oratorians, and Jesuits. We visit the magnificent properties of leading families and patrons of art to see how they aggrandized both the church and their families. And we spend time in the new St Peter’s where the Catholic church proclaimed its victory over the march of the Reformation in Northern Europe.

You will come away with an appreciation for the aims and sophistication of the sometimes derided Baroque art and architecture.
After arriving in Rome Fiumicino, we depart by coach for the Church of San Stefano in Rotondo, which is a gruesome celebration of religious martyrs in fresco. We lunch together. After hotel check-in at the aptly Baroque, Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel, designed by Francesco Borromini, we enter the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone to see the skull of St Lucy. After a drinks reception overlooking Piazza Navona, we dine together in the hotel.
After breakfast, we see Caravaggio’s masterpieces on the theme of the Life of Matthew in the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi in Francesi, before popping into St Augustine’s to see Caravaggio’s Madonna of the Loreto and a magnificent canvas by Guercino of Jerome, Augustine, and John the Evangelist. We make our way to Santa Maria del Popolo for the Cerasi Chapel, containing Caravaggio’s two paintings on the Life of Paul and Annibale Carracci’s Assumption of the Virgin altarpiece. The afternoon is spent exploring the Galleria Borghese, home to Bernini’s exquisitely poignant, Apollo and Daphne. The day ends with dinner at a local restaurant.
The morning is devoted to the sacred architectural accomplishments of Bernini and Borromini. Our first visit is to Santa Maria della Vittoria, where we find Bernini’s triumphantly emotive, Ecstasy of St Theresa. Next, comes Borromini’s first independent commission (courtesy of the Barberini), San Carlino alle Quattro Fontane before rounding off the morning in Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, which Bernini deemed his most perfect accomplishment. We lunch together. The afternoon is devoted entirely to the Barberini, as we enter their family palace in Rome, Palazzo Barbernini. This secular building houses such awe-inspiring ceilings as Pietro da Cortona’s The Allegory of Divine Providence and Andrea Sacchi’s Allegory of Divine Wisdom. Proudly proclaiming this arriviste family’s dominance of Rome for much of the middle of the 17th-century.
We explore the newly formed religious orders (?). First, to the Theatine mother-church, Sant’Andrea della Valle with its large dome frescoed by Lanfranco. Next, is the Church of the Gesu, founded in 1551 by St Ignacious Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Inside, the church is richly decorated - a highlight being the gilded monument to St Ignacious. After lunch, we explore the many Baroque paintings within Galleria Doria Pamphilj, including Velazques’ portrait of Pope Innocent X. The day is rounded off in the Oratorian church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, renowned for its altarpieces by Barocci, Pietro da Cortona's ceilings, and the Rubens slate and copper altarpiece. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, we taxi to Palazzo Corsini to view its impressive collection of paintings by Guido Reni Lanfranco, Carlo Maratta, Cavalier d’Arpino and Nicolas Poussin. In the Church of Sant’Onofrio we see the only work in Rome by Agostino Carracci, The Madonna of Loreto. The afternoon is devoted to the new St Peter’s with its Bernini designed baldachin and Cathedra Petri.  Dinner is at a local restaurant.
This morning we focus on the late-Baroque and Rococo, as we visit Santa Maria Maddalena with its Carlo Fontana designed dome. In San Lorenzo in Lucina, we see artworks by Bernini, Simon Vouet, Guido Reni and the tomb of Poussin. The Basilica of Saints Ambrose and Charles not only contains the heart of St Charles Borromeo but outstanding frescoes and altarpieces by Pietro da Cortona, Carlo Maratta and Francesco Cavallini. After lunch (not included), we depart for Rome Fiumcino for our early evening flight to London Heathrow.
As the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj Hotel has only 27 rooms and is a historic building, all of the rooms and suites are unique. They vary in size, outlook, and furnishing. We are offering these rooms and suites at varying prices to reflect their differences.

Flights - If you would like to fly BA Club class, please contact us and we will provide a price for the upgrade.

Travel advice - Please refer the Foreign Office's website to make sure you are comfortable with the travel advice they provide for the destination(s) you are visiting. 

Activity level - Our tours involve a lot of walking, climbing stairs and standing still for periods of time. The historic centres of cities are often uneven and cobbled requiring everyone to be confident walking across them.

Victoria Tate
Victoria Tate is the Founder and Director of Arterial, a company which brings artworks into the workplace. Victoria is an investor in arts orientated businesses and a Board Member at Furtherfield in London.  Victoria holds an MA in the History of Art from University College London where she specialised in 17th-century European art and 20th-century photography.
Charles Barber
Having graduated with a Bachelors of Law from the University of Edinburgh, Charles Barber embarked on what became a twenty-year career in business at the Reed Travel Group, LexisNexis and The Economist. Charles received his MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of London. He is currently studying a Masters' in early Netherlandish art and its impact on the art of Renaissance Italy at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His areas of interest include the visual, material and social culture of Northern Italian courts, 15th-century Florence and the art and architecture of Rome from 1500-1700.
Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamphilj
The baroque splendour of the Eitch Borromini Palazzo Pamhlij Hotel awaits your arrival. Built in the 1650s by the architect, Francesco Borromini, under the patronage of Giambattista Pamphilj, by then Pope Innocent X, this building started out as the Collegio Innocenziano. A school that prepared boys born in Pamphilj properties for the ecclesiastical life. The hotel has unenviable views over Piazzo Navona from some of the rooms and also from its glorious roof terrace from which the domes of the churches of Rome punctuate the skyline.

This luxurious four-star hotel offers a selection of magnificent rooms and suites for you to choose. The Pope Innocent X suite is where Innocent X slept and worked. It still has the door to the escape route out of the palazzo for Innocent X should the palazzo come under attack. Many of the suites are at least 40sqm in size, with some up to 67 sqm. All the rooms have their original doors and flooring from the 1650s.

Sapienza Travel has chosen this hotel in Rome for your stay as it fits the narrative of our tours. Baroque splendour from the 17thC that demonstrated the power and beauty of a papal family.

We very much hope you enjoy your stay in this unique hotel.
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Duration: 6 days
from £1,725 per person
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