Along the steep Via Garibaldi, on the slopes of the Janiculum, a baroque architectural pearl, unknown to most, takes us by surprise: it is the Church of Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori, designed by Francesco Borromini in the second half of the 1600s for the Order of the Oblate Augustinian Sisters of the Child Jesus, commissioned by the Duchess Camilla Virginia Savelli, wife of Pietro Farnese.
It is an incomplete jewel, as Borromini was at the same time busy in the reconstruction of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, employed by Pope Innocent X.
The project did not remain incomplete only due to Borromini's lack of time, but also because the funds to carry it out ran out before its completion.
However, it is such incompleteness that makes it very special, and that also enhances the beauty of the adjoining convent.
The unfinished facade and the austere style of design are inspired by the strict rules of seclusion that characterized the monastic order that was housed there, as well as the intrinsic humble and rustic spirit of that obedience.
For about fifteen years the convent has been transformed into a luxury hotel.
However, from the hotel hall you can still access the church and, having breakfast between a croissant and a cappuccino, you can still enjoy the perfectly preserved cloister.