This tiny church, tucked away in a dark alley close to Piazza Navona, presents an intriguing exterior and a nest of interior artistic treasures.
In 1482, Pope Sixtus IV wanted to modify the existing church dedicated to the Virgin, in order to give thanks to her for the peace with Milan. The first commission was probably awarded to the architect Baccio Pontelli, who created a rectangular space; an octagonal centrally-planned structure with a dome and a cloister was added, probably by Bramante.
In 1656, Pietro da Cortona renovated the church and finished it with the Baroque façade and the semi-circular vestibule (pronaos). Raphael’s frescoes of the sibyls making prophesies, which he painted in 1515 and to which prophets and saints were later added by other painters, are the crowning glory. Bramante designed the beautiful cloister in 1504 by order of Cardinal Caraffa.