All the Berninis in Rome

A cheat sheet list of where to find Gianlorenzo Bernini's top sculptures, architecture, and paintings (yes, he painted) in Rome

Self-portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini c.1623 (age 25)
Self-portrait of Gianlorenzo Bernini c.1623 (age 25)
Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680; sometimes his first name is spelled out in full as Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini) was perhaps the greatest sculptor of the baroque era—not to mention a genius architect and quite a fine painter (that's a self-portrait on the left).

Bernini's sculptures are full of life, vitality, and movement, the subjects often caught in a moment of action, the flowing robes and drapery flapping in the wind. Bernini's works are the epitome of the baroque's extravagant theatricality (against the often staid, posed, clam of the Renaissance).

Despite what Dan Brown wrote in Angels & Demons, Bernini's art does not comprise some kind of giant, Roman-spanning baroque geocaching map of clues to a dark and dangerous secret.

Bernini did, however, leave scores of works scattered all around the city, from public fountains and church interiors to exquisite sculptures in private collections and paintings in public galleries.

Here is where you can find many of Bernini's major works in Rome.

  • Piazza Navona (Fountain of the Four Rivers)
  • Galleria Borghese (many amazing early sculptures done in his late teens/early 20s, including David, Apollo and Daphne, the Rape of Persephone, and—along with dad, Pietro Bernini—Aeneas and Anchises)
  • Santa Maria del Popolo (many interior renovations, but particularly the sculptures and inlaid stonework in the Chigi chapel)
  • Ponte Sant'Angelo (designs for the statues lining the bridge)
  • Santa Maria della Vittoria (St. Theresa in Ecstasy)
  • St. Peter's (some of the architecture, most notably the sweeping colonnades of St Peter's Square out front, and the famous baldacchino canopy over the high altar)
  • San Francesco a Ripa (Beata Ludovica in Ecstasy)
  • Santa Maria sopra Minerva (the baby elephant statue out front, and a bust of Giovanni Vigevano on his tomb between the third and fourth chapels on the left aisle)
  • Capitoline Museums (marble head of Medusa and statue of Urban VIII in Palazzo dei Conservatori)
  • Palazzo Barberini (paintings: David with the Head of Goliath and Portrait of Urban VIII)
  • Spanish Steps (young Gianlorenzo probably helped his father, Pietro Bernini, craft the Barcaccia "sinking boat" fountain at the foot of the steps)
  • Galleria Doria Pamphilj (bust of Innocent X)
  • Sant'Agostino (design of second chapel on left aisle)
  • Roman Forum (The confessio inside the church of Santa Francesca Romana)

Tips & links

Bernini tours
How long does Rome take?

Planning your day: Rome wasn't built in a day, and you'd be hard-pressed to see it in that brief a time as well. Still, you can cram a lot into just a day or three.

To help you get the most out of your limited time in the Eternal City, here are some perfect itineraries, whether you have one, two, three, or four days to spend in Rome.

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