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PARADOXPLACE CHURCHES OF ROME     CAMPO MARZIO CHURCHES

 

SANT'ANDREA DELLA VALLE

 

SETTING FOR ACT I OF PUCCINI'S OPERA TOSCA, AND THE TOMB OF PIUS II (PICCOLOMINI)

 

Paradoxplace Rome pages

 

 

 

 

 

The large early 1600s church of Sant'Andrea della Valle sits at the noisy traffic T-junction where the  Corso del Rinascimento joins the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II.  Its over the top interior has one enormous barrel vaulted nave, which is crowned by the second tallest dome (architect Carlo Maderno) in Rome after Saint Peters. 

 

The fountain on the other side of the Corso provides a welcome safety island from competing streams of traffic.  It was reconstructed in 1959 from what remained of a Maderno fountain from another part of town, which had become deconstructed in the late 1930s and 1940s.

 

The church is probably best known as the setting for Act I of Puccini's greatest Opera "Tosca".  Act II is set in the Palazzo Farnese and Act III in Castel Sant'Angelo.  

 

The Basilica also contains the undistinguished tombs of the distinguished Sienese Pope Pius II - Aeneus Sylvius Piccolomini (1405 - 1458 - 1464 (59)) and his short (4 week) poped nephew Pius III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking east, the tomb of Pius II (see below also) is on the left (north) wall, and is faced by that of his nephew Pius III.   The photo below shows the scene looking west.   

 

More about Pope Pius II (Aeneus Sylvius Piccolomini) (1405 - 1458 - 1464 (59))

 

 

 

 

TOSCA

 

"Tosca, mi fai dimenticare Iddio!" "Tosca, you made me forget God" laments Scarpia at the end of Act I of Paradox's favourite Opera, set in Sant'Andrea della Valle.

 

In 1992 there was a magnificent production of Tosca, which was broadcast live from Sant'Andrea della Valle (Act I), the Palazzo Farnese (Act II) and the Castel Sant'Angelo (Act III) over a period of 24 hours.  We have it on VHS tape (remember them?) and it is absolutely worth making a special effort to find. 

 

Also shown on the right is the remastered 1953 Callas / di Stefano / Gobbi / de Sabata recording at La Scala, Milan, which is special not just because it captured Callas at the top of her career singing the part that was "hers", but because there is a rarely found acoustic magic in the recording - we have the earlier mono version and feel no need to go for digital remastering!

 

 

   

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All original material on this site Adrian Fletcher  2000-2014 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission