Chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Anima

(Click on any photo to see a larger version)


Nave, Apse, counterfaçade:

Left Side Chapels
Right Side Chapels

Memorials and monuments:

Santa Maria dell'Anima (Our Lady of the Souls) is a Catholic church in central Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin as patroness of the souls of the departed in purgatory, located just west of the Piazza Navona and near the Santa Maria della Pace church. It was the church of the Holy Roman Empire and is now the church of the German and Austrian community in Rome.

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


The German hostel was first mentioned in 1398 in a bull of Pope Boniface IX, and on May 21, 1406 Pope Innocent VII in his bull Piae Postulatio declared the hostel protected by the Holy See. In 1431 a church was built on the place of the hostel's chapel, which was consecrated by Pope Eugene IV in 1444. In the 15th century Santa Maria dell'Anima expanded to be a hostel for visitors from the entire Holy Roman Empire, though initially the occupants were primarily from the Low Countries and (from the middle 15th century) the Rhineland.

Johann Burchard from Strasbourg joined the Confraternity of Santa Maria dell'Anima and rose to be its provost at the end of the 15th century. While he held this office, the decision was made to rebuild the church for the Jubilee of 1500. The building period was from 1499 to 1522. The church was built in the style of a hall church that was typical for Northern Europe, but which sits awkwardly amid the Italianate churches of Rome. Andrea Sansovino was retained as architect. The facade was completed by Giuliano da Sangallo. The new church was consecrated only on Nov 25, 1542.

During the Napoleonic occupation, the church was plundered and the sacristy used as a horse stable. In 1844, the (new) Belgian community moved to the San Giuliano dei Fiamminghi church. In 1859, under the influence of the era's nationalism, the Confraternity was transformed to a German seminary and renamed the Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell'Anima. Dutch Catholics retained the Anima as their national church, but after extended conflicts left it in 1939 (since 1992 the San Michaele dei Frisoni near the Vatican has taken that role).

In 2012, when I last visited the church they were in the process of restoring the frescoes

Related Links: Roman Churches Wiki
Church homepage

Location: 41 53' 59" N, 12 28' 19" E

Additional information

Church #073/31
Copyright© 2012-2019 Skip Conde