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France - San Luigi dei Francesi

Still considered as the national church of the French, San Luigi dei Francesi is also famous for the masterpieces it houses, including works by great masters such as Caravaggio, Domenichino and Guido Reni.

It was founded by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici (later Pope Clement VII) in 1518 to serve as a spiritual home to the large French community in Rome, whose only reference points in the eternal city at that time (the end of the fifteenth century) were a simple chapel and a hospital dedicated to St Louis, situated close to the basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle. The architectural project was carried out by Domenico Fontana. Works were completed on 8th October 1589, and the church was subsequently dedicated to St Louis of the French.

In artistic terms, the church is a tribute to France, expressed through the fine representations of French saints, such as St Louis, St Clotilde and St Joan of Valois, and historic figures such as Charlemagne.