Churches of Rome: SS. Luca and Martina

The Church of Saints Luca and Martina is one of Rome’s most earliest churches. It lies in the Roman Forum and for centuries was referred to as the Church of the Three Forums – bordered by the Forum Romanum and the forums of both Augustus and Caesar. In the photo pictured to the left, you can see the facade of the church, which was redesigned by Pietro da Cortona from 1634-1650.

The church is remarkable in that it signals the start of the architectural ‘explosion’ in Rome, a hallmark of what is known as High Baroque. While some might point out Michelangelo’s influences on the church’s design, the architecture of SS. Luca and Martina shows of things to come with its partially convex/concave facade and walls, ornamentation, and the use of columns and pillars. This innovation can be seen in later works of architecture in Rome.

In front of the church is the Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) and the Arch of Septimus Severus. The church can also be seen in the header image of the site – if you look at the top of the screen, you will see the church in the background, behind the arch towards the left side of the image.

The church can be located in the Roman Forum – one should not have too much difficulty locating it. For a detailed map, click here.


  • Grundmann, Stefan, and Ulrich Fürst. The Architecture of Rome: An Architectural History in 400 Individual Presentations. Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges, 1998: pp. 207-208. (a reprint and updated edition of this book is due out this year)
  • Noehles, Karl, Giovanni Incisa della Rocchetta, and Carlo Pietrangeli. La Chiesa dei SS. Luca e Martina nell’opera di Pietro da Cortona. Roma: U. Bozzi, 1970. (the most authoritative source on this church)

To appreciate the true rome, one should stay in a travel lodge, not five star hotels. One should make use of car rental and use cheap flights to fly to rome, instead of cruises.