Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

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Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini
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41°54′16.7″N 12°29′19.2″E / 41.904639°N 12.488667°E / 41.904639; 12.488667Coordinates: 41°54′16.7″N 12°29′19.2″E / 41.904639°N 12.488667°E / 41.904639; 12.488667
LocationVia Veneto, Rome
DenominationRoman Catholic
Architectural typeChurch

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins) is a Roman Catholic church located at Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, just north of the Piazza Barberini, in Rome, Italy.

It was designed by architect Felice Antonio Casoni (1559-1634) and architect Michele da Bergamo (?-1641). Pope Urban VIII blessed its first stone on October 4, 1626, after which his Capuchin brother Cardinal Antonio Marcello Barberini began constructing it. Its first mass was held on September 8, 1630 and its construction was completed in 1631. It comprises a small nave and 10 side chapels.[1]

High Altar


The right first chapel has a dramatic altarpiece of St. Michael the Archangel Defeating Satan (c.1635) by Guido Reni and Christ Mocked by Gerard van Honthorst. The right second chapel has The Transfiguration by Mario Balassi and Nativity (c. 1632) by Giovanni Lanfranco. The right third chapel has Stigmatization of St. Francis by Domenichino. The right fourth chapel has Prayer in Gethsemane (c. 1632) by Baccio Ciarpi. The right fifth chapel has Saint Anthony by Andrea Sacchi.

The left fifth chapel has Apparition of the Virgin to St. Bonaventure (1645) by Andrea Sacchi. The left third chapel has Deposition (La Pieta) by Andrea Camassei and Stigmatization of Saint Francis (c. 1570) by Girolamo Muziano. The left second chapel has Santa Felice da Cantalice by Alessandro Turchi. The left first chapel has Ananias Heals Paul’s Blindness (c. 1631) by Pietro da Cortona.


The tombs of St. Felix of Cantalice, Saint Crispin of Viterbo, Cardinal Antonio Marcello Barberini and Alexander Sobieski (sculpted by Camillo Rusconi) are located here.


The crypt is located just under the church. Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was a member of the Capuchin order, in 1631 ordered the remains of thousands of Capuchin friars exhumed and transferred from the friary Via dei Lucchesi to the crypt.

The bones were arranged along the walls, and the friars began to bury their own dead there, as well as the bodies of poor Romans, whose tomb was under the floor of the present Mass chapel. Here the Capuchins would come to pray and reflect each evening before retiring for the night. The crypt, or ossuary, now contains the remains of 4,000 friars buried between 1500 and 1870, during which time the Roman Catholic Church permitted burial in and under churches.

The underground crypt is divided into five chapels, lit only by dim natural light seeping in through cracks, and small fluorescent lamps. The crypt walls are decorated with the remains in elaborate fashion, making this crypt a macabre work of art. Some of the skeletons are intact and draped with Franciscan habits, but for the most part, individual bones are used to create elaborate ornamental designs.

The crypt originated at a period of a rich and creative cult for their dead; great spiritual masters meditated and preached with a skull in hand. A plaque in one of the chapels reads, in three languages, "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be." This is a memento mori.

The popularity of the crypt as a tourist attraction once rivalled the Catacombs. The Sedlec ossuary (1870) in the Czech Republic and the Skull Chapel in Poland are said to have been inspired by it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rendina, Claudio (1999). Enciclopedia di Roma. Newton Compton.

External links[edit]