San Lorenzo in Lucina

The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina (Italian: Basilica Minore di San Lorenzo in Lucina or simply Italian: San Lorenzo in Lucina; Latin: S. Laurentii in Lucina) is a Roman Catholic parish, titular church, and minor basilica in central Rome, Italy. The basilica is located in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina in the Rione Colonna, circa two blocks behind the Palazzo Montecitorio, proximate to the Via del Corso.

Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina
Basilica di San Lorenzo in Lucina (in Italian)
Basilica S. Laurentii in Lucina (in Latin)
San lorenzo in lucina - facciata - 1911.JPG
Facade of San Lorenzo in Lucina in 1911
AffiliationRoman Catholic
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusParish church, titular church, minor basilica
LeadershipMalcolm Ranjith
LocationRome, Italy
Geographic coordinates41°54′12.3″N 12°28′43.3″E / 41.903417°N 12.478694°E / 41.903417; 12.478694Coordinates: 41°54′12.3″N 12°28′43.3″E / 41.903417°N 12.478694°E / 41.903417; 12.478694
GroundbreakingAD 4th century
Length65 metres (213 ft)
Width16 metres (52 ft)
Width (nave)18 metres (59 ft)
Official website


The basilica is dedicated to St. Lawrence of Rome, deacon and martyr. The name "Lucina" derives from that of the Roman matron of the AD 4th century who permitted Christians to erect a church on the site. Putatively, Pope Marcellus I hid on the site during the persecutions of Roman Emperor Maxentius, and Pope Damasus I was elected there in AD 366. Pope Sixtus III consecrated a church on the site in 440 AD. The church was denominated the Titulus Lucinae, and thus is mentioned in the acts of the synod of AD 499 of Pope Symmachus. The church was first reconstructed by Pope Paschal II in the early 12th century.

In 1606, Pope Paul V assigned the basilica to the order of Clerics Regular Minor. Cosimo Fanzago completely renovated the interior in the 17th century, including conversion of the lateral aisles of the basilica into chapels. The ceiling was also frescoed by the Neapolitan Mometto Greuter.

In the 19th century, in a subsequent restoration of the interior that Pope Pius I commissioned the Baroque decorations in the nave were replaced with frescoes that Roberto Bompiani painted.

The current Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Laurentii in Lucina,[1] established in AD 684,[contradictory] is Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who was appointed on 20 November 2010.

Art and architectureEdit

Bust of Gabriel Fonseca by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

In the rebuilding of 1650, the aisled basilical plan was destroyed and the lateral naves were replaced by Baroque chapels, which were then leased to noble families to decorate and use as mausolea. This was done by inserting walls behind the piers of the arcades. The arcades themselves have solid, square piers with imposts. The flat ceiling is coffered, gilded, and decorated with rosettes and has a painting of the Apotheosis of St. Lawrence in the central panel. This ceiling was made in 1857 under Pope Pius IX.

Guido Reni's Christ on the Cross (1639–40)[2] is visible above the high altar, framed by six Corinthian columns of black marble. Below the altar is a reliquary in which is preserved the gridiron on which tradition maintains that St. Lawrence was martyred. The marble throne of Pope Paschal II in the apse behind the high altar has an inscription that records the translation to the basilica of its relics of St. Lawrence of Rome. A Madonna and Child with John of Nepomuk and Archangel Michael by Onofrio Avellino hangs in the apse behind the high altar.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the Capella Fonseca, fourth on the right, for the Portuguese Gabriele Fonseca, who was physician to Pope Innocent X (1644–55).[3] The chapel has some fine busts by Bernini and his workshop, including a portrait of Fonseca to the left of the altar. This chapel also has the painting Elisha Pouring Salt into the Bitter Fountain by Giacinto Gimignani of 1664.

The French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) is buried in the second chapel on the right side and is commemorated with a monument that the French Ambassador François-René de Chateaubriand donated in 1830.

The second chapel on the left has an altarpiece by Carlo Saraceni.

The fifth chapel on the left was designed and decorated by Simon Vouet. His two paintings depict St. Francis of Assisi: one shows him receiving his religious habit and the other depicts his temptations. The altarpiece shows St. Francis Appearing to Giacinta Marescotti on Her Deathbed by Marco Benefial.

Giuseppe Sardi designed the baptistery to the left of the entrance in the 17th century.

In the basilica is also the tomb of the composer Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710). Three years after the composer's death, his portrait was placed there, sculpted in Carrara marble by Pietro Francesco Papaleo (circa 1642-1718). The portrait was a commission by the composer's nephew Felice Bernardo Ricordati and his pupil Bernardo Gaffi.

Charles Stewart, an officer in the Papal army who died in 1864, is buried in the basilica. He was the son of John Stewart, Prince Charles Edward Stuart's ("Charles III", the "Young Pretender") "maestro di casa". Charles had ennobled John as a baronet in 1784.

List of Cardinal ProtectorsEdit



  1. ^ David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: San Lorenzo in Lucina (Cardinal Titular Church), accessed 23 March 2016.
  2. ^ D. Stephen Pepper, Guido Reni: a complete catalogue of his works with an introductory text (Phaidon, 1984 ), pp. 62 and 168.
  3. ^ Prosper Mandrosius, ʘEATPON, in quo maximorum Christiani orbis pontificum Archiatros (Romae: Typographio Paleariniano, 1784), pp. 53-4.


  • Titi, Filippo (1763). Descrizione delle Pitture, Sculture e Architetture esposte in Roma. Marco Pagliarini, Rome. pp. 367–369. Fillipo Titi.
  • D. Mondini, "S. Lorenzo in Lucina", in: P. C. Claussan, D. Mondini, D. Senekovic, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050–1300, Band 3 (G-L), Stuttgart 2010, pp. 261–309, ISBN 978-3-515-09073-5
  • R. Krautheimer, Corpus basilicarum christianarum Romae. The early Christian basilicas of Rome, 2, Città del Vaticano 1959, 178–179.
  • Anthony Morris Clark (1981). Studies in Roman Eighteenth-Century Painting. Decatur House Press, Limited. ISBN 978-0-916276-10-2.
  • Luigi Salerno, S. Lorenzo in Lucina in Via del Corso (Roma 1961).
  • M. E Bertoldi, "L'area archeologica di San Lorenzo in Lucina a Roma", Bollettino di archeologia, 13–15, 1992, 127–134.
  • M. E. Bertoldi, S. Lorenzo in Lucina (Le chiese di Roma illustrate. Nuova serie 28), Roma 1994.
  • Olof Brandt, "Sul battistero paleocristiano di S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Archeologia laziale XII (Quaderni di archeologia etrusco-italica 23), 1, Roma 1995, 145–150.
  • Olof Brandt, "La seconda campagna di scavo nel battistero di S. Lorenzo in Lucina a Roma. Rapporto preliminare", Opuscula Romana 20, 1996, 271-274.
  • Olof Brandt, "Un'iscrizione riutilizzata da S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana 70, 1994, 197–201.
  • F. Bertozzi, "S. Lorenzo in Lucina," Roma Sacra 2, 1995, pp. 6-17.
  • G. De Spirito, "Basilica S. Laurentii in Lucina", Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae III, Roma 1996, 183–185.
  • M. E. Bertoldi, "Un documento di archivio sul battistero di S. Lorenzo in Lucina", Ultra terminum vagari. Scritti in onore di Carl Nylander a cura di Börje Magnusson et al., Roma 1997, 43–44.
  • Wanda Tymowska; Alain Mérot; Daniela Gallo (2002). Marco Benefial: état de la question. Paris: Mémoire de DEA : Histoire de l'art : Paris 4.
  • Olof Brandt (ed.), "San Lorenzo in Lucina: The Transformations of a Roman Quarter." [Skrifter Utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Athen / Acta Instituti Atheniensis Regni Sueciae. 4°, 61.] Stockholm Rome 2012, ISBN 9789170421792.

External linksEdit