San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

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The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains (Chiesa di San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane also called San Carlino) was designed by the architect Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) and was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves. He received the commission in 1634, under the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, whose palace was across the road. The tight geometric complexity of interlocking ovals and circles creates spaciousness in the small corner church, which stands a stone's throw from the Palazzo Barberini (windows designed by Borromini) and piazza. It is also down the street from rival Gian Lorenzo Bernini's oval Sant'Andrea al Quirinale.

For reference, a plan of the church is available here.


The church was built 1634-1638 by Borromini, and was the first church in Rome to be dedicated to St Charles Borromeo, who had been canonized in 1610. It was also the first church that Borromini built in Rome. It belongs to the adjacent Spanish Trinitarian monastery, built by Borromini four years before he started work on the church. The church is small, and the plan and proportions are said to be based on one of the piers supporting the dome of St Peter's. The appellation refers to the four fountains at the corners of the intersection where the church stands.

Related Links: from Roman Churches Wiki
from Wikipedia

Location: 41° 54' 6" N, 12° 29' 26" E

Additional information

Church #107/12
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