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Sant'Andrea della Valle, the general seat of the religious order of Theatines, was built in the 17th century. 

In addition to it's religious significance and it's outstanding collection of art, it is recognized by opera enthusiasts as being the scene of the first act of Puccini's Tosca.




We saw this church almost every day we were in Rome, from the outside at least.  It's located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the busiest thoroughfares in Rome.  Our taxi went flying by it almost every day.  The absence of traffic in the picture above is just proof of how jet lag can cause a person to get up really early in the morning.




The fountain, by Carlo Maderno from the 16th century was located near the Vatican until 1937 when the streets were rearranged and the piazza where it was located disappeared.





The nave of the church from near the front doorway.  Sant'Andrea's design allows more outside light in than many of the basilicas in Rome and the lightness is the first thing noticed by the visitor.




Looking backward down the nave at the main entrance with the choir loft above.




The vaulted ceiling of the nave is covered with murals.




The intersection of the nave and the transepts is topped by a dome.




Off the nave midway between the entrance and the apse is the grave of Pius II, one of the two Piccolomini Popes.  The other was Pius III whose sarcophagus is opposite and almost a mirror image.  Pius II was one of the first popes to be a patron of the arts and was considered an instigating figure of the Renaissance.  Pius III has the distinction of being the pope with the shortest tenure in office, 30 days.




The Chapel of St Andrew in the right transept.  The painting is Giovanni Lanfranco's Saint Andrea Avellino.




The Chapel of St. Catejan of Thiene.




The intersection of the nave, transept, and dome.




The huge painting The Crucifixion of St. Andrew by Mattia Preti behind the main altar dominates the nave.



To the left of that is St Andrew Being Nailed to the Cross.




To the right is St. Andrew Being Placed in the Grave.




The tomb (and body) of  St. Joseph Cardinal Tomasi (1649-1713),  a leading Catholic intellectual of his day.  He was canonized by Pope John Paul II.  His uncorrupted body was not embalmed.



The Chapel of the Crucifix.



The most well-known feature of Sant'Andrea della Valle is the Barberini family chapel.  It's the first on the left as you enter.  It's widely agreed that this was Puccini's inspiration for the fictional Attavanti family chapel in Tosca.



The Ginetti chapel features Antonio Raggi's "Angel Urges the Holy Family to Flee to Egypt."



The Strozzi chapel, thought to be designed by Michelangelo features bronze reproductions of his Pieta (in St. Peter's Basilica) and Leah and Rachel (from the Moses statue in Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli).



The chapel on the left is the Chapel of "Rucellai a Dei Beati."  The chapel on the right is the St. Sebastian chapel.  Wooden carved pulpit between and below that is the lady who always accompanies me to Rome.