Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

Flanking a delightful rococo piazza, this important Jesuit church boasts a Carlo Maderno facade and a celebrated trompe l’oeil ceiling fresco by Andrea Pozzo (1642–1709) depicting St Ignatius Loyola being welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Madonna.

For the best views of the fresco, stand on the small yellow spot on the nave floor and look up. The ceiling, which is, in fact, absolutely flat, appears to curve. But walk a little further into the church and the carefully created perspective stops working and the deception becomes clearer.

The church, which was built by the Jesuit architect Orazio Grassi in 1626, flanks Piazza di Sant’Ignazio , an exquisite square laid out in 1727 to resemble a stage set. Note the exits into ‘the wings’ at the northern end and how the undulating surfaces create the illusion of a larger space.