The Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles (Italian: Santi XII Apostoli, Latin: SS. XII Apostolorum) is a 6th century Roman Catholic parish and titular church and minor basilica in Rome
, dedicated originally to St. James and St. Philip and later to all Apostles. Today, the basilica is under the care of the Conventual Franciscans, whose headquarters in Rome is in the adjacent building.
The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus XII Apostolorum is Angelo Scola. Among the previous Cardinal Priests are Pope Clement XIV, whose tomb by Canova is in the basilica, and Henry Benedict Stuart.Built by Pope Pelagius I to celebrate a Narses victory over the Ostrogoths, and dedicated by Pope John III to Saint John the Apostle and Saint Philip the Apostle, the basilica is listed as 'Titulus SS Apostolorum' in the acts of the synod of 499.
This church has three naves, divided by a row of Corinthian pillars, supporting the ceiling, on the middle of which is painted in 1707 the Triumph of the Order of St Francis, by Baciccio. There are also frescoes of the Evangelists by Luigi Fontana. The use of perspective is very good, and the angels appear to come out of the vault. Above the sanctuary is a fresco from 1709 by Giovanni Odazzi, representing the "Fall of Lucifer and his Angels".
To the right of the high altar are the tombs of Count Giraud de Capri
ères (died 1505) and Cardinal Raffaele Riario (died 1474), tentatively attributed to Michelangelo. To the left is a monument to Cardinal Riario, by the school of Andrea Bregno and possible designed by Andrea Bregno himself. There is also a Madonna by Mino da Fiesole.
On the wall, to the right of the portico of the ancient church, is an antique bas-relief of an eagle surrounded by an oak crown thagt it holds in its talons. Opposite is the monument of the engraver Giovanni Volpato executed and erected by his friend and countryman Antonio Canova. It consists of a large bas-relief, representing "Friendship" in the form of a woman weeping before the bust of the deceased Volpato.
On a pier of the nave on the right-hand side, near the first chapel, is enshrined the heart of Maria Klementyna Sobieska, wife of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart. Her tomb is in St Peter's Basilica. Her monument is by Filippo della Valle. Her husband used to pray here every morning. James III was laid in state here himself in 1766, before he was buried with his wife at St Peter's.
Frescoes of Melozzo da Forlì
- Melozzo da Forlì painted, on the ceiling of the great chapel, the Ascension of our Lord. According to Giorgio Vasari, "the figure of Christ is so admirably foreshortened as to appear to pierce the vault; and in the same manner the angels are seen sweeping through the field of air in two opposite directions."
- The twelve chapels in total, with three domed ones on each side, are adorned with marbles and fine paintings; the painting in the first chapel to the right, is by Nicola Lapiccola; and that in the next, by Corrado Giaquinto. The Chapel of St. Anthony contains eight fine marble columns, and a painting by Benedetto Luti.