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The Vault



The construction work began in 1668, and after six years the originally elliptical plan of the church had undergone changes due to the emergence of Carlo Fontana who had joined the elderly Rainaldi.

The difficulties in mediating the plan of the church and the insertion of the dome required the direct intervention of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1674-75) who designed the latter, and who – thanks to optical expedients linked to major design changes (such as replacement of the mansard with a balustrade and enlargement of the tambour to give the pronaos and the dome greater visual prominence) – was able to obtain apparent symmetry even with the diversity of dimensions and plans.

The dome designed by Bernini is dodecagonal in shape and ribbed as far as the crown of the lantern. The church interior consists of a large recess of elliptical shape surmounted by the dome with six radial chapels; a large ledge, interrupted only by the recesses of the entrance and the choir, joins the dome with the walls opening into the arches of the chapels; seven windows situated in the springer of the dome regulate the lighting. Finally four passages on the sides of the large entrance arches and the choir lead to their respective service doors.

Above the triumphal arch rises a group of stucco sculptures with two angels holding the coat of arms of the commissioner, Cardinal Gastaldi. It is the work of Filippo Carcani dating from around 1675, as well as the four statues portraying Saints Angelo and Albert, Elisha and Elijah placed in the niches of the dome.

The project consists of clearing the upper surface of the dome from lower plants, and at the end of the disinfection extensive cleaning of the plaster and stucco will be performed using vacuum cleaners and soft brushes. The removal of incongruous deposits will then be increased with the aid of vulcanised latex slabs to be rubbed on the surface to eliminate the more stubborn concretions.

The cracks and gaps will be restored with superficially treated hydraulic mortar.
Later the colours of the vault, the tambour and the group of sculptures will be reconstituted and regenerated with pigmented lime glazes, which will be performed again on the most damaged surfaces, including for reinforcement.

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