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Point of interests in Rome

TitleConvento e Oratorio dei Filippini
Address00186 Lazio Roma 18 Piazza della Chiesa Nuova Piazza
TimeXVII sec.
DescriptionThe complex of the convent with the oratory annex of the Padri Filippini was mostly built by Francesco Borromini starting from 1637, the year in which he was given the commission to build the new headquarters of the Confraternita di San Filippo Neri alongside the church where the congregation officiated (Santa Maria in Vallicella or Chiesa Nuova). The works, already begun in 1621 with the construction of the sacristy, were continued from 1637 to 1649 by Borromini, who was responsible for the Oratory, the refectory, the recreation hall, the courtyards, the library, the brothers’ rooms and the Clock Tower. The complex was completed in 1666 by Camillo Arcucci. The brick façade reiterates the characteristic design of Borromini’s architecture with alternating concave and convex surfaces overlooking Piazza della Chiesa Nuova. It is divided into five sectors by pillars in two orders, above which is a multilinear tympanum, arched on the sides and triangular at the centre. The construction of the Oratory (also known as the Borromini Hall) is connected to one of the most important religious and cultural institutions of the early seventeenth century, the so-called "Secular Oratory", in which, according to the precepts of San Filippo Neri, prayer alternated with the execution of chants accompanied by instruments. This practice is the origin of the musical form of the “Oratorio”. The specific purpose of the hall, rectangular with bevelled corners and covered with a low barrel vault, influenced the construction of the two opposite loggias on the short sides, one for the cardinals and the other for the singers and musicians. The Oratory is still used as a concert hall. Today, the palace is the seat of the Archivio Storico Capitolino, the Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo and the Vallicelliana library. The works to construct Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in the last decades of the nineteenth century altered the original setting of the complex within the city, once incorporated within a busy road network connected to the space in front.


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