This is the parish church of the Vatican City located at the Porta S. Anna, the commercial
entrance to the Vatican, across the street
from the barracks and stables of the Swiss Guard. It is open to the general public.
Construction started in 1565, under Pope Pius IV, but it was only in 1572 that the process
started in earnest. The architect was Jacopo Barocci da Vignola
; after his death in 1573
his son Giacinto Barozzi took over.
The building was funded by the Confraternity of the Palafrenieri (Palafrenieri is just a pompous word for grooms),
which was founded in 1378 by
Pope Urban VI as part of the Papal court.
It was given a baroque flavor by Alessandro Specchi
who (in the early 18th century) added the
portal, the balustrade and the bell towers. The modern entrance to the Vatican was built under
Pius XI, whose heraldic symbols (an eagle on top of three pills) are sculpted in "lictorial" style
on top of the pillars ("lictorial" is called the style prevailing in the late 1930s in Italy).
Today it is the parish church of the Vatican and its official cemetery. It is served by Augustinian friars.