© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

© Roberto Alborghetti Photos

In this beautiful basilica in the very heart of Rome will be held next Friday, January 13, 2017 (6 pm) the official launch of my new book, published by Velar, entitled “Come Chicchi in Una Spiga di Grano” (it’s my fourth book about Pope Francis). The basilica is dedicated to Sant’Andrea della Valle and it is officiated by the Teatini Fathers founded by San Gaetano Thiene. With me will be: Father Salvador Rodea González, General Superior of Theatines and Father Carlos Gomez-Ruiz, Rector of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle. Paolo Sandini and Anna Scaglione ( Velar Publishing) will take care of the informations and sales service.

When visitors step into this soaring Baroque church, many of them are struck by the light; the whole interior seems to glow a magical greenish-gold. Others are stunned by the height of the dome, which in Rome is second only to St. Peter’s. Still others are drawn in by the large frescoes in the apse, particularly the crucifixion of St. Andrew (painted by Mattia Preti).

Sant’Andrea della Valle dates back to 1650 and is the burial site of two popes, Pius II and Pius III. Another distinction: it’s the setting of the opening act of Puccini’s opera “Tosca.” The church is just a few blocks from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori and the palaces of Italian Government and Parliament (it is located at the intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Corso Rinascimento, in Piazza Vidoni 6).



The angel of Sant’Andrea della Valle church, realized by the architect Carlo Rainaldi in the years 1655 to 1665, fulfilling the designs of Carlo Maderno, is a special case of Rome’s lonely angel. Looking at the Baroque facade of the church,  one notices an angel suspended on the left cornice. While on the opposite side to the right, there is an empty space, proving to be quite asymmetric. The angel’s sculptor seems to be Ercole Ferrata, also the author of some statues of saints on the façade, (although it must be said that other scholars attribute it to Fancelli). The angel is carved into a particular pose, with one wing stretched up that seems to lean (some say support) the wall, and the other wing kept behind his back, as if he were injured or suffered from human frailty. Some believe that the statue is an allegory of the winged goddess of Fame. It would seem that even Pope Alexander VII did not like that angel and denied funding for the completion of the non-existent second one.