Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli

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The Spanish National Church of Santiago and Montserrat, known as Church of Holy Mary in Monserrat of the Spaniards (Template:Lang-it, Template:Lang-es, Template:Lang-la) is a Roman Catholic titulus church and National Church in Rome of Spain, dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat. It is located in the Rione Regola, at the intersection of alleway of Via della Barchetta and the narrow Via di Monserrato, with the facade on the latter street, about three blocks northwest of the Palazzo Farnese.

The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Mariae Hispanorum in Monte Serrato is Carlos Amigo Vallejo.


The present church was founded in 1803-1807, by uniting the staff of two different churches, the 15th century church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli (now transformed into Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore) in Piazza Navona, which at the time was crumbling, and that of Santa Maria in Monserrato, which from medieval times had served and housed mainly indigent Spanish pilgrims to Rome. Many of the works from San Giacomo degli Spagnoli were also transferred to the latter.


The church was initially designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and work proceeded over centuries under the direction, among others, of Bernardino Valperga and Francesco da Volterra. The site was chosen in 1518, the façade by da Volterra being erected 1582-1593, the altar consecrated in 1594, and the roof finished in 1598. The apse was completed only in 1675, when a new main altar was consecrated. The external sculptural group (1673-1675) was executed by Giovanni Battista Contini. A complete renovation took place from 1818-1822.


The frescoes of Dormition of the Virgin (1683) over the main right central Chapel are by Francesco Nappi, while on the left is a Coronation of the Virgin (1627) by Giovanni Battista Ricci. In the niches above the lateral doors are statues of two Aragonese saints (1816), St. Isabel of Portugal and St. Peter Arbués, by the Aragonese sculptor Juan Adàn.

First chapel on the right

Initially dedicated to Saints Phillip and Nicola, in 1590 it was conceded to Bernardino Rocci (died 1599). The chapel retains his burial plaque on the pavement, as well as his heraldic shield on the ceiling. The altarpiece depicting San Diego di Alcantara was painted by Annibale Carracci. At the right is the mausuleum of two popes from the Spanish Borgia family, Callixtus III (1455-1458) and Alexander VI (1492-1503), sculpted by Felipe Moratilla, and completed only in 1889. Below is the cenotaph of the deposed King of Spain, Alfonso XIII (died 1941), whose remains were repatriated in 1980 to the Pantheon of the Kings at El Escorial. At left, up high, is the neoclassical sepulchral monument of the Catalan sculptor Antoni Solà (1787-1861), made by José Vilches in 1862, and below the monument for Francisco de Paula Mora, son of the marchesi di Lugros, who died in Naples in 1842.

Second chapel on the right

In 1624, it was ceded to the estate of the patron Gabriel Ferrer (died 1607). The chapel retains his burial plaque on the pavement, as well as his heraldic shield on the ceiling. The paintings are by Francesco Nappi, including the Annunciation altarpiece. The sides have frescoes of the Birth of Mary and Assumption of Mary to Heaven. Two Spanish Ambassadors are buried here: Juliàn de Villalba (died 1843) and Salvador de Zea Bermùdez (died 1852). The four lunettes have angels with symbols alluding to the Virgin, and one lunette with Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth. Above arches and pilasters are Marian symbols and the cupola has the image of St. Cecilia, whil the tympanum has a God the Father.

Third chapel on the right

The rich polychrome marble decoration completed in the 18th century by Antonio Francés and Miguel de Cetina, based on designs by a Canon from Barcelona, Francisco Gòmez Garcìa, (died 1778). The altarpiece depicting Our Lady of the Pillar with St James and St Vincent Ferrer was painted by Francisco Preciado de la Vega. At the right, an Assumption of Mary (1551) was painted by Francesco di Città di Castello while a Triumph of the Immaculate Conception (1663) on the left, was painted by Louis Cousin, also known as Luigi Primo.

Third chapel on the left

This chapel was commissioned by the family of Francisco Robuster (died 1570), and dedicated to the Holy Cross. In 1882 a statue of St James, Patron of Spain, by Jacopo Sansovino, commissioned by Cardinal Juame Serra (died 1517) for his chapel in Santiago. The framing conch were added in the 19th century. The sepulchral monument of Félix Aguirre (died 1832), José Alvarez Bouguel (1805-1830), and of the ambassador of Spain Antonio Vargas Laguna (+1824) were completed by Antoni Solà. On the left, in the inferior part, is the tomb of the bishop Alfonso de Paradinas and on right, the tomb of the bishop of Terni, and secretary to Pope Alexander VI, Juan de Fuensalida (died 1498), both attributed to the work of Andrea Bregno.

Other Chapels

In the center of the presbytery's apse is the canvas of The Crucifixion (1564-1565), painted by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta.

The third Chapel to the left contains Jacopo Sansovino's statue of the "St. James the Great" (patron of Spain), moved here in 1882. It had been commissioned by Cardinal Jaime Serra I Cau (c. 1517) for his chapel in Santiago, Spain. Nearby is the tomb of the bishops Alfonso de Paradinas and Juan de Fuensalida (1503) attributed to Andrea Bregno. Ceded to Tomàs Gargall, bishop of Malta, in 1614, the second chapel to the left is dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat and has a modern copy of this iconic image by Manuel Martì Cabrer. The lateral walls are frescoed with "the navigation of Saint Raymond of Peñafort" and an allegorical "Sacred mountain". The four evangelists on the arches and the frescoed scenes below scene attributed a Giovanni Battista Ricci. The 18th century stuccowork is by Francesco Bizzaccheri. In the first chapel to the left, the "Anne, Virgin, and Jesus" was sculpted in 1544 by Tommaso Boscoli. The right column has a Tabernacle of Saints attributed to the Milanese Luigi Capponi. On the right wall, the neoclassic monument to the former Spanish ambassador Josè Narciso Aparici Soler, who died in Rome in 1845.

The bust of Cardinal Pedro de Foix Montoya, a benefactor of the church, is one of the early works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, made in 1621.


  • Pope Alexander VI
  • Alfonso XIII of Spain (remains transferred to the El Escorial in 1980)
  • Pope Callixtus III

Cardinal-priests of Holy Mary in Monserrato of the Spaniards since 2003

  • Carlos Amigo Vallejo (21 October 2003 – Present)


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