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Chiesa Nuova

Built in 1575 on initiative of the founder Filippo Neri after the recognition of his order on the site of an oldest church of the XIIc., from which owes the appellative of " New " . The official name, Santa Maria in Vallicella (little valley), refers to a little valley known to the Romans, perhaps the ancient Tarentum, which was consecrated to the gods of hell because of the flames and exhalations that gave off from it

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The Church was erected with the help of pope Gregory XIII and of important Roman families fascinated by the shrewd wit of Phillip's behaviour. He was called friendly "good Pippo ". His order was devoted to the struggle against illiteracy and the diffusion of the Catholic doctrine through new methods as the education to little boys, the pilgrimage and the liturgical songs in vulgar language instead of Latin. Inside the church was projected by Martino Longhi the Elder, the fašade, completed in 1605, by Fausto Rughesi. Built as a Greek cross. The model follows the church of "Ges¨" with a great central nave and on both sides little chapels that communicate. The dome is without drum. The interior is richly decorated. On the ceiling there is a splendid fresco by Pietro da Cortona "Vision of saint Filippo Neri during the construction of the church", Pietro da Cortona was also the painter of the frescoes of the dome and the apse. Above the main altar and on its sides there are three great paintings by Rubens dating to the first half of the '700's, which witness of the presence of this great Flemish painter in Rome. In the right arm of the transept altarpiece with "Maria's Crowning" by Cavalier of Arpino. The church most overwhelming items are its glorious pair of gilt-covered organs on opposite sides of the nave. In the left transept is the chapel of S.Filippo Neri , richly decorated with bronze, marbles and mother of pearl, the paintings by Pomarancio show the miracles of the saint. Above the altar a mosaic reproduces the original image of the saint by Guido Reni. The body of St. Filippo Neri is in an urn under the altar with a silver mask covering his face. A secondary door leads to the Sacristy one of the most beautiful in Rome, the ceiling was decorated by Pietro da Cortona, on the altar it is the statue of S. Filippo and Angels by Alessandro Algardi


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