Short history of the church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome
The church of the Annunziata became insufficient for over two thousand students of many nations who were attending the College at the beginning of the XVII century.
Gregory XV was an old pupil of the school and was strongly attached to it. He had also canonized Ignatius in 1622. He suggested to his nephew, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, that a temple should be erected to the founder of the Company of Jesus, at the College itself.
The young cardinal accepted the idea, asked several architets to draw plans, and finally chose that of Father Orazio Grassi, Professor of mathematics at the College itself (1583 - 1654).
The foundation - stone was laid only in 1626 on the 2nd of August, four years later, a delay which was caused by the fact that a section of the buildings belonging to the Roman College had to be dismantled.
The church was opened for public workship only in 1650, the Holy Year, but the final solemn consecration of the holy edifice was celebrated only in 1722 by Cardinal Zondadari.
The church was erected on the spot where the Temple of Isis had stood in Imperial Rome; this was the hearth of the egyptian district in the city. The present fašade stands where the Acqua Vergine once flowed down in a cascade; it still runs beneath the ground.
The church's entrance now faces on to Piazza S. Ignazio; the charming rococ˛ piazzetta was planned by the architect Filippo Raguzzini (1680 - 1771).