Piazza della Minerva

Basilica of St. Maria sopra Minerva

This is the city's most important piazza linked to the dominican order. It was here, in fact, that the powerful religious order established itself in the second part of the 1200s. The order's monastery is to the left of the church, behind the celebrated Elephant sculpture of Bernini and, in the 1600s, it became the headquarters of the feared Sant'Uffizio, an active branch of the inquisition. Besides the buildings connected to the dominicans, there is also Palazzo Fonseca on the right, which, in 1832, became the Hotel Minerva, host to, among others, Stendhal. In front of the church is the Palazzo dell'Accademia dei Nobili Ecclesiastici, today home to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, built in the 1500s, but rebuilt in 1878.