The Chiesa di Trinità dei Monti is perhaps better known for its location than for the works inside it. This little jewel has evolved with the centuries to become one of the most famous post cards of the Eternal City.
It stands atop the Spanish Steps, overlooking the Piazza di Spagna forming a backdrop that cannot be ignored.
And yet, until the early 1500s, the church site was an enormous vineyard donated by King Charles VIII of France to an order of monks.
From the 16th century on, the entire area around the Trinità dei Monti had long been under French influence; in the 19th century, this influence expanded somewhat to include the Villa Medici and the French Academy.
The French provided the funds for the celebrated Spanish Steps, which were built some time around 1725 by Francesco De Sanctis. Their purpose was to celebrate the peace between France and Spain by linking the Piazza di Spagna (so called because of a road leading to the Bourbon Spanish Embassy) to the French church.
In addition, of the two clocks on the façade, one shows Rome time, the other Paris time; mass is celebrated in the church in the French.
The first part of the church was built in the Gothic style in the early decades of the 1500s; the place of worship was consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V. Afterwards, in the 16th century, the Gothic building was enlarged, and the famous façade with two symmetrical bell towers was built. The design was by Giacomo Della Porta and Domenico Fontana. The latter also created the stair and ramps that lead to the church entrance.
In the late 18th century, Pope Pius VI placed the Salustiano Obelisk in front of the Trinità dei Monti. This was the last large obelisk to be erected by the Roman Papacy from those that had been built in Roman times to imitate Egyptian obelisks.
On the interior, the beautiful Deposition of Christ and the entire Mannerist-style fresco cycle in one of the first chapels are the work of Daniele da Volterra, a student of Michelangelo, who after the master's death got the nickname braghettone(Breeches-Maker). He was charged with the task of covering the nudity in the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel with trousers.