The Twin Churches and the Trident

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The Twin Churches and the Trident

The Twin Churches and the TridentThe three streets known as the Trident were the most important urban reconstruction realized during the Renaissance, becoming the European model for urban renewal in the Baroque Period. Three streets diverged from the obelisk in Piazza del Popolo and they directed pilgrims arriving from the north towards the three principal itineraries of their visit:

Via Ripetta, the ancient via Leonina, went to the Tiber and on to Ponte Sant'Angelo and then to St. Peter's. Via del Babuino, the ancient Via Clemenza, went off in the direction of Piazza di Spagna and eventually to Santa Maria Maggiore. Via del Corso, the ancient Via Lata, crossed the entire Campus Martius to reach the papal palace in Piazza Venezia and then continued on to San Giovanni in Laterano.
The final arrangement of these three streets leading off Piazza del Popolo was achieved in the 17th century with the building of 2 churches that the pope, Alexander VII, wanted to be twin churches.
The architects, however, Bernini and Fontana adapted the churches to the spaces allotted - looking from the piazza, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is on the left with its circular plan and octagonal dome; the other church, Santa Maria di Montesanto, has an elliptical plan with a 12 sided dome.
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