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“Even the postcard seller spoke French” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Church of San Luigi dei Francesi

Church of San Luigi dei Francesi
Piazza San Luigi de' Francesi, 00186 Rome, Italy (Navona / Pantheon / Campo de’ Fiori)
06 688271
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Top Rated
$112*
and up
Rome Card and Omnia Vatican Card: Valid for 3 Days
Ranked #13 of 1,443 things to do in Rome
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Closed on Thursdays! The famous painter Caravaggio (1573-1610) was commissioned to paint for this church, where in one of its chapels is his realistic naturalism in three scenes of the life of St. Matthew.
Melbourne, Australia
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143 reviews 143 reviews
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Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
“Even the postcard seller spoke French”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

The three wonderful paintings by Caraveggio of the Vocation of Saint Matthew are simply breathtaking. But there is so much more to see in this church which has been looking after the French in Rome since 1589. Lots of memorials to French citizens who spent time in Rome and other French religious memorabilia

Visited May 2013
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“Obviously to see both Caravagio”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Just next to the French bookshop La Procure, close to the busy Piazza Navone & Campo de Fiori, quietness with beauty of the paintings. Even though Caravagio is not the one to lift you up, worth the visit.

Visited May 2013
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
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Reviews in 137 cities Reviews in 137 cities
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“A must visit for renaissance art lovers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

This is the first review I have written on a church in Rome. I expect this will be the first of a number. I have visited 569 churches in Rome, which became a passion of mine. There is no better way to understand the history, the art (mosaics, painting, frescoes, sculpure, tapestries, vestments, sacred art), the architecture and the very essence of what Rome is all about. Whether it's bald face politics, wealth gone wild, or simple spirituality, it's all there within the walls of Rome's churches, shrine and chapels (which by my personal count, number more than 1800).

I never come to Rome without stopping at San Luigi, and I will do so again four days from now. I am always drawn back by the Caravaggio paintings, each different, each unique, each (as the Italians say) suggestivo. The closest translation I have come across for this word is evocative, but that does not do the word justice.

Make a beeline for the painting, in the far left forward chapel from where you enter the church. If no one has paid to turn on the spotlight, don't be a nerd: pay to turn them on. It's worth it. There are excellent signboards behind you with good enough explanations of the art for the casual visitor. If you need more, google the church and you will find plenty to read. Or simply google Caravaggio.

I often hold conferences in Rome, and I always conduct a walking tour myself. If the church is open, I take the visitors there, usually after a nice espresso at the nearby Cafe St. Eustacchio.

For Caravaggio devotees, I always then take them to the church of San Agostino, also close by, to see my favorite work by this artist: The Madonna of Loreto (or the name I prefer: the Madonna of the Pilgrims). I can gaze at this painting so intently that I can forget to breathe. Once again, pay to put the spotlight on it if others don't. As your eyes move around the painting, and you inevitably linger over the tired Mary holding a very robust baby boy, you feel as if she is carrying the future of the world. And for devout Christians, she was. I can think of no other painting of the madonna (and there are zillions) which captures this so well.

Visited April 2013
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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42 reviews 42 reviews
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Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“See Caravaggio's "Calling of St Matthew"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

This church is well worth a visit if you have the time and like Caravaggio. If you bring coins you can even light up the painting for yourself and everyone around you.

Visited April 2013
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Dublin, Ireland
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40 reviews 40 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“A couple of Caravaggio paintings”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Pretty little church near Piazza Navona, there are two Caravaggio paintings. If the light is not on the paintings, there is a timed machine for a couple of euros.

Visited April 2013
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