Церковь Санта Мария де Монсеррато дельи Спагноли
Church of Santa Maria de Monserrato degli Spagnoli, or Virgin of Montserrat of the Spaniards
Church dedicated to Virgin of Montserrat, named after the Spanish shrine of the Blessed Virgin. The Spanish national church.

The image of the Black Virgin, which appeared in the mountains near Barcelona, is very popular in Spain. The church was built on the site of a house bought by Pope Innocent VI (1352-1362) as a hospice for Catalan pilgrims. Construction started in 1518, led by Antonio Sangallo the Younger, on orders from Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503). Because of political conflicts between Rome and Spain, and because the Borgia Alexander VI was hugely unpopular, the church was not completed before more than a century later.

St Ignatius of Loyola hung up his sword at the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in Catalonia, and he used to preach and catechise at this church.

icon The two Borgia popes, Callixtus III (1455-1458) and Alexander VI (1492-1503), are buried here after being moved from St Peter's. The monument over the two popes was erected as late as 1881.

In the courtyard and the side chapels are some 15th century tombs by Andrea Bregno and Luigi Capponi.

The bust of Cardinal Pedro Foix de Montoya, a benefactor of the church, is by Bernini. It is one of his early works.

The church has been closed to the public for some time.
To visit it, apply in writing to "S Maria di Monserrato, Via di Monserrato, Roma" - preferably in Italian or Spanish, but English should work as well.
It should supposedly open during the Jubilee 2000.
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