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Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

Church of Santa Maria del Popolo: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Half-Day Angels and Demons Semi-Private Tour

1. Rome: Half-Day Angels and Demons Semi-Private Tour

Explore Rome following the trail of Robert Langdon in Dan Brown's best-selling novel, Angels and Demons. The 3.5-hour tour begins at Pantheon, where Robert Langdon, the protagonist of Dan Brown's best-selling novel, arrives having misunderstood a clue. His intended destination was the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, and that is the tour's second stop. The church is noted for the Chigi Chapel, where Langdon found the first dead cardinal, branded with the word earth on his chest. Next, stop outside St. Peter's Basilica, the center of Christianity. In the middle of St. Peter’s Square you’ll find an obelisk surrounded by a wind compass rose. On the west ponente oval tile the protagonist found another dead cardinal, branded with the word air. After this, Langdon enters the Vatican’s secret archives to look for information about the Illuminati. From the Vatican you’ll head to the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, where you’ll see Bernini's sculpture, Estasi di Santa Teresa. It was here that Langdon found the third dead cardinal, who was branded with the word fire. Your guide will take you through the most important places in the ancient city center, including Repubblica Square, and Navona Square, where you’ll see Bernini's stunning Fountain of the 4 Rivers and the obelisk. According to the book, Langdon finds the last dead cardinal here, branded with the word water. From Navona Square you’ll head to the last stop, Castel Sant’Angelo, a gathering place of the Illuminati, and hear about the passetto, a hidden passage that leads to Vatican City. This shortcut was used by past popes as a way to escape, and in the book it is used as a hideout for the assassin.

Rome: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & Pantheon

2. Rome: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps & Pantheon

Rome’s famous squares, monuments, fountains and artists offer you the very best attractions on this 2.5-hour afternoon walking tour. Let the Eternal City enchant you as you stroll through its picturesque cobblestone alleyways, and discover some of the world’s most famous sites, such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Travel back in time and admire all of the city’s must-see art and architecture, in a single afternoon! Begin in Piazza del Popolo, the traditional northern “door to Rome,” with the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo as the first church that visitors to Rome would see upon entering its gates. The Spanish Steps, with its lively atmosphere and stunning views, bring you down into the winding alleys of the heart of the historic center, where you will encounter the ornate Trevi Fountain. Throw a coin in the fountain and promise to return! Continue with a stop at Piazza Colonna and see the column erected by Marcus Aurelius that is now considered by Romans as the very center of the city. We will also stop at the Pantheon to explore its impressive concrete dome and open oculus. Nearby, visit Piazza Navona to get a close-up view of Bernini’s famous “Fountain of the Four Rivers,” triumphantly marking its ornate center. Finally, you will go to Piazza Navona for a taste of one of the liveliest and most famous piazzas in Rome.

Rome: Masters and Mysteries Walking Tour

3. Rome: Masters and Mysteries Walking Tour

Start at the Galleria Spada where you will see the world-famous Galleria Prospettica built by the architect Borromini in the 17th-century. Marvel at how the corridor looks wide and long but it is just an optical illusion. Walk a little further and enter the gothic church of Santa Maria Sopra la Minerva home to Michelangelo's Standing Christ. Nearby in Piazza Navona, see breathtaking paintings by Caravaggio that will change your perception of light and darkness. Finally admire the authentic works by Raphael, located in the Chigi headquarter church. Amaze your friends and family with knowledge gained from this off-the-beaten-track walking tour.

Caravaggio in Rome Tour

4. Caravaggio in Rome Tour

Stroll through the district of Rome where Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio lived and worked. Discover the stories, anecdotes and the outstanding technical skills that have kept his name known across the world for over 400 years.  Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio was in Rome by the end of the 1580's. Admire some of the most beautiful masterpieces in the original churches for which they were commissioned. See in Santa Maria del Popolo: Saint Paul's Conversion and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter. See in Sant'Agostino, The Madonna of Pilgrims. Finishing up in San Luigi dei Francesi, one of the few French churches in Rome, to admire the three paintings which represent the stories of Saint Mathwe. These were the first altarpieces ever painted by Caravaggio.

Rome: Caravaggio and Baroque Art Private Guided Tour

5. Rome: Caravaggio and Baroque Art Private Guided Tour

This 3-hour private tour of Caravaggio’s art and Rome’s Baroque masterpieces is the perfect opportunity for a close-up look at the artist’s work. Michelangelo Merisi, alias Caravaggio, one of the greatest painters of all time, spent the majority of his life in Rome. The tour begins at Piazza del Popolo and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, where you’ll see The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul. Then you’ll pass near 2 of Caravaggio’s residences, Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Senate, and Giustiniani Palace, which now houses the offices of the Senate. Your guide will tell you about unusual events in Caravaggio’s life and also provide commentary on the architecture or current functions of the main Italian government houses such as Montecitorio Palace. See the major masterpieces of Caravaggio, including The Life of St. Matthew in St. Louis of France’s Contarelli Chapel, and The Madonna of the Pilgrims in St. Augustine. Admire Baroque architectural masterpieces, including the Church of St. Ignatius. Pass by the Pantheon and hear about its history from your guide. Your tour ends in Piazza Navona, where you’ll be able to admire one of the Bernini’s masterpieces, the Fountain of the 4 Rivers, and Borromini’s façade of St. Agnes in Agony. Hear stories of these rival artists, and about the tragic end of Caravaggio’s life in Rome.

Roman Heresy on the Trail of Angels and Demons Driving Tour

6. Roman Heresy on the Trail of Angels and Demons Driving Tour

Retrace the path of the Illuminati between freemasonry and occultism. Listen to stories out of the ordinary and challenge conventions. Visit the four places where the cardinals were killed. One of the biggest risks locals run immersing themselves into the wonders of Rome every day, is to take such beauties for granted. At that moment we are pushed to provide new inputs to our curiosity, and it is precisely this attitude that prompted us to invite you on this new journey... Are you ready to leave the main road, to put into crisis your most solid certainties, to explore fields of knowledge intentionally set aside because uncomfortable, to bare the weaknesses of what we believe in the search for a new level of awareness? In order to do this we will instruct a trial, putting in the dock the most influential figures of the 17th century, one for all the Pope Urban VIII, because they would be stained with a terrible crime. Although they are the most glaring expression of the established order, they would be guilty of the crime they most pursued, heresy. In this curious performance our tour guides will be playing their usual role as narrators and you won't be just witnesses, you will be the jury!

Rome: Villa Borghese Smartphone Audio Guide

7. Rome: Villa Borghese Smartphone Audio Guide

Start your tour in Piazza del Popolo, one of the most famous squares in the city, and explore one of the most attractive green spaces in Rome. Villa Borghese park covers more than 80 hectares and offers forest, lakes, fountains and also some famous buildings like the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Casina di Raffaelo. While walking through its gardens, you can listen to a multilingual audio commentary of many iconic landmarks in the park like the Pincian Hill, a terrace which is considered to be the most romantic and picturesque places in Rome and discover the story behind many more points of interest during your self guided tour.

Pantheon, Raphael & Caravaggio Walking Tour w/ Wine Tasting

8. Pantheon, Raphael & Caravaggio Walking Tour w/ Wine Tasting

This fantastic combined gastro-cultural walking tour explores the streets of Rome through the painterly eyes of Caravaggio, one of the most controversial artists of the Baroque. Stroll through some of the most elegant of Rome’s streets, where Caravaggio took inspiration for his masterpieces. Your guide will lead you to Santa Maria del Popolo church on Piazza del Popolo to see the Caravaggio masterpieces “Crucifixion of St. Peter” and “Conversion on the Way to Damascus.” Then visit the Campo Marzio district, along Via Ripetta. From here, visit Santa Maria della Pace church and Sant'Agostino church before moving onto the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The last attraction will be the Pantheon, a unique structure established as one of the most impressive architectural features of the city. 

Rome: Angels and Demons Between Faith and Science Tour

9. Rome: Angels and Demons Between Faith and Science Tour

This private Angels and Demons tour of Rome is a unique opportunity to enter the world of Dan Brown’s best-selling book. You'll visit famous monuments and locations from the thrilling novel, all of which are based in the "Eternal City". Prepare to go off the beaten path, exploring the side streets of the historic center and uncovering the secrets of some of Rome’s most mysterious churches. From the splendor of Piazza Navona to the magical atmosphere of Santa Maria della Vittoria (home to Bernini's stunning Saint Teresa and a masterpiece of Baroque sculpture), you’ll be enchanted by the history and beauty of Rome as you unravel the city's secrets thanks to the expertise of your private guide. As well as learning about art history and the lives and works of painters such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Caravaggio, you’ll gain new insights into the history of science and religion in the Eternal City whilst separating fact from fiction along the way. Join this gripping adventure and follow in the footsteps of fiction's most famous symbologist, you might just discover that the truth is the most compelling narrative of all.

Rome: Private Caravaggio's Masterpieces Tour

10. Rome: Private Caravaggio's Masterpieces Tour

For art and history lovers, this 3.5-hour private tour will be a true delight. You'll be accompanied by a local art-historian guide who has a knowledgable background of Caravaggio's life, his works and other painters of the period. Your tour will begin in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo where you’ll see 2 of Caravaggio’s works whilst hearing stories about the history behind each one. Throughout the tour you’ll see a large selection of "in situ" pieces, which are artworks that remain in the location they were originally designed for, which also defined the Roman Baroque period. From here you will see where Caravaggio found his inspiration for his paintings, in the Trident neighborhood where he lived and worked in the 15th century. You'll learn about his painting methods, and can also get a glimpse at where he looked for and hired his controversial models. Next you'll head to the Church of Saint Louis, the National Church of France, and it's here you can see the works of Caravaggio's first and most successful altarpiece. Here you will discuss what made him one of the most influential painters in history, with focus on innovation and the signature "chiaroscuro", light and dark in each of his works. You'll see one of his most recent works, and one less visited by tourists in the Church of Sant’Agostino. If you are interested in seeing more by Caravaggio whilst you are in Rome, it can also be arrangde for you to visit the Borghese Gallery, the Barberini Palace, the Capitoline Museums, and the Vatican.

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What people are saying about Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 443 reviews

The guide was very kind and made sure I didn’t get lost. I saw absolutely everything I wanted to see and I was so tired that day after 6 other days of hardcore sightseeing and traveling prior to this one. This day in particular was also my birthday! I felt so worn out I would have missed out on half those things and I needed to see them for my first trip to Europe for my birthday. I absolutely love this tour and I’m so thankful for it! Also the patheon was closed to the public but our fantastic and kind guide got us right in! I loved all the history she td about and I wish I remembered her name! She had blondish hair, long hair I guess, medium height Caucasian woman, maybe she was French. I’m not sure. But she was very kind and the best tour guide I had the whole trip on the toughest day also! 10 stars thanks to her! I saw it all!

We had Luisa as our tour guide, she was brilliant! Not only did she go through the story of the Dan Brown movie but she gave us a history tour to! Her knowledge of the history of Rome is unbelievable, she gave us an unforgettable experience! As we have walked round Rome since our tour we can hear Luisa's insitght into the area and remembering the great time we had with her! Thank you again for such a great afternoon!

A charming guide who led the tour with a lot of knowledge and funny sidekicks. However, one should be good on foot. Definitely recommendable! Grace Luisa!

Guiseppe Cusano was an excellent Guide. His background in Archaeology and his passion made it a unique, informative and exhilarating Tour. Well done.

I can listen to Luisa (the guide) all day. She is the best!!