1996 World Monuments Watch
The basilica is a highlight of the late baroque in Rome. In 1471 Pope Sixtus IV granted the Lombard Archconfraternity a small medieval church. The old church was demolished and reconstructed in 1513. In 1610 a new and larger church was conceived to honor San Carlo Borromeo's canonization. While many architects were involved in the design of the ornate interior, Onorio and Martino Longhi and Pietro da Cortona were its primary authors. Cortona is renowned for his dome, one of the most striking of the city skyline. Damaged lead on the six side cupolas exposes them to the elements. Water entering through the roof is damaging the building’s wooden frame. Marble slabs lining the walls have loosened; pollution and dirt now threaten the plaster. Frescoes, stuccoes, rich decorative work, and the crypt are in a serious state of decay. Although significant funding is required to restore the church, its listing will focus attention on completing the effort to save a significant baroque monument.
Since the Watch
The 17-year restoration of the church was completed in 2004. Serious structural problems had to be resolved, and spaces and architectural elements throughout the basilica were thoroughly inspected and treated. February 2011