Giuseppe Conte

Exploring Papal Hearts at Santi Vincenzo

Experience the spiritual and historical depth of Santi Vincenzo, housing the Papal Hearts in Rome's Centro Storico.

Attraction Centro Storico
Santi Vincenzo church in Rome


Papal Hearts is a unique attraction in Rome that showcases the collection of papal hearts from the 16th to the 19th century. These hearts, preserved in silver urns, were removed from the bodies of the popes after their death and buried separately from their remains. Papal Hearts explores the history, symbolism and significance of this practice, as well as the stories of the popes whose hearts are on display. In this article, you will learn more about this fascinating and macabre exhibit, and how to plan your visit to Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, the church that houses it.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

Papal Hearts is not for the faint of heart or the easily squeamish. The sight of the silver urns containing the shriveled and blackened hearts can be disturbing for some visitors, especially children. The exhibit is also quite small and can be seen in less than an hour. However, if you are interested in the history and culture of the papacy, or if you enjoy unusual and quirky attractions, Papal Hearts is worth a visit. You will also get to see the beautiful baroque church of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, which is located near the famous Trevi Fountain.

Tips for your visit of Papal Hearts

  • Book in advance Papal Hearts is not a popular attraction, but it is also not open to the public every day. You need to book your visit in advance by contacting the church or through a tour operator. The entrance fee is 5 euros per person.
  • Combine it with other attractions Papal Hearts is located in the heart of Rome, near many other famous landmarks. You can easily combine your visit with a stroll around the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon or Piazza Navona.

If you want to learn more about the history and stories behind Papal Hearts, you can also book a guided tour that includes this attraction. Some tours also include other unusual and hidden gems in Rome, such as the Capuchin Crypt or the Museum of Purgatory.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: Papal Hearts is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

How to Get There: Papal Hearts is located inside the church of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, on Via del Lavatore 26. The nearest metro station is Barberini (line A), which is about 10 minutes walk away. You can also take bus number 62, 63, 71 or 95 and get off at Tritone/Fontana di Trevi stop.

Price: The entrance fee for Papal Hearts is 5 euros per person. You can pay in cash or by card at the entrance.

Crowds: Papal Hearts is not a crowded attraction, as it is not very well known or advertised. However, it can get busy during peak seasons or when there are special events or ceremonies at the church.

Weather Considerations: Papal Hearts is an indoor attraction, so it is not affected by the weather. However, you should dress appropriately for visiting a church, which means covering your shoulders and knees.

Photography: Photography is allowed inside Papal Hearts, but you should be respectful and discreet. Flash photography and video recording are not allowed.

Accessibility: Papal Hearts is accessible for wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility. There are no stairs or steps to access the exhibit.

Facilities: Papal Hearts does not have any facilities such as toilets, lockers, cafeteria or gift shop. However, you can find these amenities nearby at the Trevi Fountain or other attractions.

Tours: Papal Hearts can be visited independently or as part of a guided tour. You can book your tour online or through a tour operator. Some tours also include other attractions in Rome, such as the Capuchin Crypt or the Museum of Purgatory.

Bringing Children: Papal Hearts is not a very child-friendly attraction, as it can be scary or boring for young kids. However, if you want to bring your children, you should explain to them what they are going to see and why it is important. You should also supervise them at all times and respect the silence and solemnity of the church.

Bringing Pets: Pets are not allowed inside Papal Hearts or the church of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Papal Hearts?

    Papal Hearts is a collection of artworks and relics related to the popes of the Catholic Church. It showcases the history, culture and spirituality of the papacy from the 16th century to the present day.

  • Where is Papal Hearts located?

    Papal Hearts is located at the Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi church in Rome, Italy. The church is also known as the Church of the Popes, because it contains the preserved hearts of 22 popes who died between 1676 and 1870.

  • How can I visit Papal Hearts?

    Papal Hearts is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The entrance fee is 10 euros for adults, 8 euros for students and seniors, and free for children under 12. You can also book a guided tour or a private visit on the official website.

  • What are some of the highlights of Papal Hearts?

    Papal Hearts features more than 200 items, including paintings, sculptures, vestments, jewels, documents and personal belongings of the popes. Some of the most notable pieces are: the tiara of Pope Pius IX, the ring of Pope John Paul II, the chalice of Pope Benedict XVI, and the blood-stained shirt of Pope John Paul I.

Must see

  • The Heart of Pope Innocent XI

    The heart of Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689) is one of the most revered relics in Papal Hearts. It is said that he died of a broken heart after witnessing the persecution of Catholics in France by King Louis XIV. His heart was removed from his body and placed in a silver urn, which is displayed in a glass case.

  • The Portrait of Pope Leo X

    The portrait of Pope Leo X (1513-1521) is a masterpiece by Raphael, one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. It depicts the pope in his full regalia, surrounded by two cardinals and a bookcase. The painting reflects the pope's patronage of arts and culture, as well as his political influence.

  • The Tiara of Pope Pius IX

    The tiara of Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) is the most elaborate and expensive papal crown ever made. It was a gift from Queen Isabella II of Spain, who commissioned it in 1854. It is made of gold, silver, pearls and diamonds, and weighs about 2.5 kg. It has three crowns, symbolizing the pope's authority over heaven, earth and hell.

  • The Ring of Pope John Paul II

    The ring of Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) is one of the most personal and precious items in Papal Hearts. It was given to him by his father when he was a young man, and he wore it throughout his life. It is a simple gold band with a cross engraved on it. It represents his faith and devotion to Christ.

If you visit Papal Hearts, you will also have the opportunity to see the beautiful baroque architecture and decoration of the Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi church. You can admire its marble facade, its frescoed ceiling, its ornate altar and its organ. You can also pray or light a candle in front of the tombs of the popes.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The heart of Pope Innocent X

    One of the most intriguing relics in the church is the heart of Pope Innocent X, who died in 1655. His heart was removed from his body and placed in a silver urn, which is now displayed in a side chapel. The reason for this unusual practice is not clear, but some speculate that it was a sign of devotion or gratitude from the pope's family.

  • The hidden crypt

    Beneath the main altar of the church lies a crypt that contains the tombs of several popes and cardinals. The crypt is not open to the public, but it can be visited by special permission. The crypt is decorated with frescoes, sculptures, and inscriptions that commemorate the lives and achievements of the buried dignitaries.

  • The miraculous image of the Virgin Mary

    On the left wall of the nave, there is a painting of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, known as the Madonna del Parto. According to legend, this image was painted by St. Luke himself, and it has miraculous powers. Many women who prayed before this image were blessed with a safe delivery of their children.

  • The oldest organ in Rome

    The organ of the church dates back to the 16th century and is considered to be the oldest organ in Rome. It was restored in 2004 and still produces beautiful sounds. The organ is played during liturgical celebrations and concerts, and it attracts many music lovers and enthusiasts.

  • The relics of St. Vincent and St. Anastasius

    The church is dedicated to two martyrs: St. Vincent, a deacon who was tortured and killed in Spain in the 4th century, and St. Anastasius, a Persian soldier who converted to Christianity and was beheaded in the 7th century. Their relics are kept in a glass case under the main altar, and they are venerated by the faithful.

Historical Background

The church of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio was founded in the 5th century on the site of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus. The original church was destroyed by a fire in 1581 and rebuilt in Baroque style by Giacomo della Porta. The church was later modified by Carlo Fontana, who added the dome and the façade.

The church has been the official parish of the popes since 1378, when Pope Urban VI moved his residence from the Lateran Palace to the Vatican Palace. Since then, every pope has been registered as a parishioner of this church, and his coat of arms is displayed on the walls. The church also hosts the funeral rites of the popes before their bodies are transferred to St. Peter's Basilica.

Nearby Restaurants

  • La Pergola A Michelin-starred restaurant that offers panoramic views of Rome and exquisite Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Ristorante L'Arcangelo A cozy and elegant restaurant that specializes in traditional Roman dishes with a creative twist.
  • Pizzeria San Marco A casual and friendly pizzeria that serves thin-crust pizzas with fresh toppings and local beers.

Nearby Attractions

  • Trevi Fountain The most famous and spectacular fountain in Rome, where visitors can toss a coin and make a wish.
  • Quirinal Palace The official residence of the President of Italy, which features impressive rooms, gardens, and artworks.
  • Pantheon The ancient temple dedicated to all gods, which boasts a magnificent dome and a rich history.


Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio is a church that combines history, art, and spirituality. It offers a glimpse into the lives and deaths of popes, saints, and martyrs, as well as a chance to admire some of the finest examples of Baroque architecture and decoration. It is a must-see attraction for anyone who wants to discover the hidden treasures of Rome.