parks, uncontaminated nature preserves and naturalistic areas
Castel Gandolfo’s Piazza della Libertà is the proud home of the church of San Tommaso da Villanova, a masterpiece by Bernini built between 1558 and 1561 for Pope Alexander VII Chigi as the Palatine Chapel of the Papal Palace. The architect employed a Greek cross plan, altered to fit the canons of the Baroque and lend the space an extraordinary sense of dynamism. The main altar is surmounted by the canvas of the Crucifixion of Christ by Pietro da Cortona; the Allegories of the Evangelists by Ercole Antonio Raggi, of the Ticinese school and Bernini’s closest collaborator for thirty years, figure in the pendentives of the cupola. The altarpiece on the right altar, portraying Saint Thomas of Villanova, is also by Cortona; the left altar features an Assumption by Carlo Maratta.