San Francesco a Ripa
San Francesco a Ripa Review
Near Trastevere's southern end, this Baroque church attached to a 13th-century Franciscan monastery holds one of Bernini's last works, a statue of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni. This is perhaps Bernini's most hallucinatory sculpture, a dramatically lighted figure ecstatic at the prospect of entering heaven as she expires on her deathbed. She clutches her breast as a symbol, art historians say, of the "milk of human kindness" and Christian caritas (charity). Gracing the altar is Baciccia's Madonna and St. Anne. St. Francis is supposed to have stayed at this monastery when visiting the city; to see his cell, ask the Sacristan. The side chapels of the church, including Bernini's, have been restored and are open to the public.