Heraldry of Rome – Part II


In this second part in the series on the heraldry I ran into during my recent brief visit to Rome (and for the next few), I’ll focus on ecclesiastical arms.

As the capital of the Papal States and the location of the Holy See (in the Vatican), Rome is full of churches. Naturally, they are almost all of them Roman Catholic.

As is customary, the churches display coats of arms that are significant to them. In the case of the Catholic churches, they display the arms of the current Pontiff and those of the bishop of the parish. Interestingly, in Rome, every church acts as its own seat and the arms displayed outside are those of the Pope and of a Cardinal.


The picture above is of the entrance to the impressive Santissima Trinità al Monte Pincio (a.k.a Trinità dei Monti), the church above the Spanish Steps.


As you can see, the church is displaying two coats of arms in the entrance. The one on the left is that of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.


The one on the right is that of Cardinal Philippe Xavier Christian Ignace Marie Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon in France and Cardinal Priest of this church.

This church is most impressive and dominates the scene of the Spanish Steps or Piazza di Spagne.


Although the steps and plaza are “Spanish”, the church was built with French funds when in 1502 King Louis XII wanted to celebrate his successful campaign against Naples and chose this site, right next to a pre-existing monastery built the previous decade. The “Spanish” name comes from the fact that the Spanish embassy was and still is located there.


Continuing the French tradition the church was entrusted in 1828 to the French religious order “Religieuses du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus”. In 2006, another French order took over and made the church its headquarters, the “Fraternités Monastiques de Jérusalem”.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to identify the arms in the windows posted above.  If anyone recognizes them, please contact me and I will make the appropriate edit and give the proper recognition.

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