Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria

Church in Tridente, Trevi & the Quirinale

This modest church is an unlikely setting for an extraordinary work of art – Bernini’s extravagant and sexually charged Santa Teresa trafitta dall’amore di Dio (Ecstasy of St Teresa). This daring sculpture depicts Teresa, engulfed in the folds of a flowing cloak, floating in ecstasy on a cloud while a teasing angel pierces her repeatedly with a golden arrow.

Watching the whole scene from two side balconies are a number of figures, including Cardinal Federico Cornaro, for whom the chapel was built. It’s a stunning work, bathed in soft natural light filtering through a concealed window. Go in the afternoon for the best effect.