The next stop is the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Via XX Settembre at the corner with Largo Santa Susanna, which offers one of the richest examples of baroque decoration for the richness of marble, stucco and friezes. Inside the Cornaro chapel is a typical example of Bernini “beautiful composition”, a real masterpiece, in particular to the skilful use of mysterious and scenographic effects of concealed light. The main attraction is the spectacular sculptural group with the Ecstasy of Santa Teresa of Ávila, one of the most scenographic works of those realized by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in which the artist transforms, in a non metaphorical but literal sense, the space of the chapel in theatre.
Continuing along Via del Quirinale, you reach the Church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, also known as Sant’Andrea in Monte Cavallo, located in Rione Monti, in front of the long sleeve of the Quirinale Palace. Built between 1658 and 1671 by the will of Pope Alexander VII, it is the first church that Bernini has realized all by itself giving full expression to its fantastic vision of the architectural space. The church is also known as the “Pearl of the Baroque” for the splendid pink marbles placed inside and Bernini himself considered his best work; in fact, he later confessed to the son: “Of this only work of architecture I feel some particular pleasure”.
Our itinerary to discover the works of Bernini in Rome continues in the nearby Piazza Barberini, at the center of which is the spectacular Triton fountain created by the artist in 1642-43. Entirely sculpted in travertine instead of the usual marble, the fountain is an expression of the new Baroque concept of space, the sculptural part includes and completely absorbs the same architectural structure. On the corner of Via Veneto always in Piazza Barberini is the less flashy but equally delicious Fountain of Bees, made in 1644 by Bernini himself. The water falls into a shell-shaped tank, where the heraldic bees of the Barberini family are posing to quench their thirst.
The next stage is the scenic and picturesque Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful and famous squares of Rome. At the center of it is possible to admire the Fountain of the Rivers, conceived by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and executed, between the 1650 and the 1651, by its pupils, to which you owe the allegories of the rivers: the Rio Della Plata, the Danube, the Nile and the Ganges. Next to this wonderful creation is the Fontana del Moro, the work of Giacomo della Porta completed in January of 1655 with the addition to the center of the mighty sculpture of the Moro designed by Bernini and sculpted by the pupil Giovanni Antonio Mari.