If you’re looking to infuse some art and culture into your trip then the church of San Luigi dei Francesi is a beautiful display of art and architecture. The church was built in 1518 to serve the French community in Rome, and despite its fairly modest exterior, the interior is an opulent display of gold and multi-coloured marble.
For art lovers its worth mentioning that this church also houses three masterpieces by the artist Caravaggio. During his lifetime his mischievous character often over shadowed his artistic credibility, today however, it’s clear that his unique style of painting set a president for the rest of the Baroque period. The Baroque was theatrical and aimed to create movement and atmosphere within a painting, artists wanted to engage the viewer and draw them into the scene. If the renaissance was about linear perspective and anatomical correctness, the baroque sought to bring it to life!
Caravaggio’s three paintings consist of The Calling of Saint Matthew, The Inspiration of Saint Matthew and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, they epitomise Caravaggio’s famous style of painting known as tenebrism (which is essentially the technique of contrasting dark and light tones). They can be seen today as they would’ve been viewed back in the 1600s, still in the Contarelli chapel.