San Marcello al Corso

Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Italy, Rome

San Marcello al Corso is a church in Rome, Italy, devoted to Pope Marcellus I. It is located in via del Corso, the ancient via Lata, connecting Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. While the tradition holds that the church was built over the prison of Pope Marcellus I (d. 309), it is known that the Titulus Marcelli was already present in 418, when Pope Boniface I was elected here. The "Septiformis" litany, commanded by Pope Gregory I in 590, saw the men moving from San Marcello. Pope Adrian I, in the 8th century, built a church on the same place, which is currently under the modern church. The corpse of Cola di Rienzo, was held in the church for three days after his execution in 1354. On 22 May 1519 a fire destroyed the church. The money collected for its rebuilding was used to bribe the landsknechts, who were pillaging the city during the Sack of Rome (1527). The original plan to rebuild the church was designed by Jacopo Sansovino, who fled the city during the Sack and never returned to finish it. The work was continued by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who rebuilt the church, but a Tiber flood damaged it again in 1530. It was only in 1592 that the church was completed, and later Carlo Fontana built the facade. Under the main altar, decorated with 12th century opus sectile, are the relics of several saints, which include those of Pope Marcellus as well as Digna and Emerita. The last chapel on the left is dedicated to St. Philip Benizi. The late-baroque decoration contains sculptures by Francesco Cavallini and reliefs by Ercole Ferrata and Antonio Raggi. The first chapel on the left has the double tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Michiel and his grandson Antonio Orso sculpted by Jacopo Sansovino. Behind the facade is a Crucifixion (1613) by Giovanni Battista Ricci. Along the first chapel is an Annunciation by Lazzaro Baldi; in the second Martyrdom of Sts. Digna and Emerita (1727) of Pietro Barbieri; in the third Madonna with the Child, a fresco of late 14th century, episodes of the life of the Virgin by Francesco Salviati, fresco and paintings of Giovan Battista Ricci; in the fourth chapel a Creation of Eve and the evangelists Mark and John, frescoes by Perin del Vaga, Matthew and Luke begun by Perin del Vaga and finished by Daniele da Volterra. Inside is a cyborium (1691) designed by Carlo Bizzaccheri; in the fifth chapel is a monument to the cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci (1726) by Pietro Bracci and a monument to cardinal Camillo Paolucci by Tommaso Righi (1776) and wall paintings by Aureliano Milani. On the left nave, in the fifth chapel, is a San Filippo Benizi (1725) by Pier Leone Ghezzi; in the fourth Conversion of Saint Paul (1560) by Federico Zuccari and his brother Taddeo and, on the sides, of History of Saint Paul. Inside of the chapel has busts of Muzio, Roberto, Lelio Frangipane by Alessandro Algardi (1630-40). In the third chapel on the left is a Doloroso by Pietro Paolo Naldini, Sacrifice of Isaac and discovery of Moses by Domenico Corvi; in the first Madonna and seven Saints by Agostino Masucci. The church is administered and owned by the Servite Order since 1369.