San Salvatore in Campo

San Salvatore in Campo


    The church of San Salvatore in Campo was erected in the early 10th century, and it is mentioned in a papal bull promulgated in 1186. It was endowed to monks from the monastery of Farfa. The word "Campo" was for a long time considered to allude to the fact, that the medieval church was located at a piazza covered with grass and without pavement. "Campo" may be translated into the English word "field". Later research has been able to confute this theory and proposes that "Campo" refers to the infamous 10th century abbot Campone of Farfa, who, through criminality and deception, tried to appropriate huge advantages for himself at the expense of others.

    San Salvatore in Campo became a parish church in the 16th century, but there are scarcely any documents to describe its architectural forms. The only comment on the medieval church is given to us by Giovanni Antonio Bruzio (1610-1692), who says it had three naves. During the enlargement of the adjacent Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ in 1638, the medieval church of San Salvatore in Campo was demolished, but one year later, in 1639, cardinal Francesco Barberini commissioned the architect Francesco Peparelli (ć 1641) to design a new church. Peparelli was, at the time, active at the aforementioned amplification of the Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ together with e.g. Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini.

    The present church is located at Piazza di San Salvatore in Campo, not far from the churches of San Paolo alla Regola and Santa Maria in Monticelli. Soon after its erection in 1639 San Salvatore in Campo anew became a parish church, but the parish was suppressed by pope Leo XII in 1824. Shortly after this the Arciconfraternita del Santissimo Sacramento e Congregazione di Santa Maria della Neve was established in the church. Between 1841 and 1856 the Missionaries of the Preziosissimo Sangue were the proprietors of the church. In the beginning of the 20th century the church of San Salvatore in Campo was declared untreadable and was closed for the public. In 1968 the church was entrusted to the association "Una Voce" (One Voice), which had it restored. From 1978 the church anew fell into a state of abandon. In the beginning of the 1980's it was conceded to the Centro Neocatecumenale "Servo di JavÚ", which had the interior renovated.

    The two-storeyed fašade is divided into three sections by plain lisens. In his design of the fašade the architect Peparelli was inspired by the prototypical fašade of Il Ges¨ executed by Giacomo della Porta in the 1580's. The curvilinear pediment over the church door encircles an even smaller triangular pediment and a cartouche with the title of the church: ECCLESIA / SANCTI SALVATORIS / IN CAMPO. The second storey presents a rectangular window decorated with a relief with a drapery and festoons. The storey is flanked by two volutes. The crowning pediment of the fašade encompasses a fresco (now almost completely ruined) depicting the Saviour (it. Salvatore).

    The interior of the church has one single nave, but the architect Peparelli had the obvious intention to combine a longitudinal plan with a symmetrical scheme to be able to give the two lateral altars a pronounced position. The main altar has a painting of the Transfiguration, San Salvatore in Campo (main altar)a recently executed copy of Raphael's early 16th century original. The apsidal arch is decorated with frescoes - unfortunately in poor condition. In the centre is the Christogram surrounded by rays of golden light and cherubs. This motive is flanked by two angels holding the nails of the Cross (left) and the Inscription plate (right) with the letters INRI, i.e. Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The lower walls of the apse have rectangular panels with frescoes. To the right a putto is holding the Veronica, i.e. the veil of Veronica with the true image of Jesus Christ. The body of Saint Candidus, martyr at Ursum Pileatum, rests under the main altar. The two lateral altars present sobre artistic execution. The one on the right hand has an 18th century painting depicting the Virgin Mary with saints. The one on the left has a false marble decoration and a metal Cross, which had a unusual wooden Crucifix (purloined in 1984), where one could see both feet of Christ fastened with nails. The side walls of the church have two additional niches. The one on the right once had the painting of the Madonna della Neve, i.e. the Madonna of the Snow, but as a precautionary measure it was transferred to the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina in 1887.

San Salvatore in Campo


    The lower left portion of the fašade of San Salvatore in Campo with its graffiti and obvious signs of disrepair illustrates the sad deterioration of some of the exteriors of the churches of Rome. The individual parishes just can't afford keeping all their churches in shape.