The 'new' church was built in 1575 by Filippo Neri and include a work by Rubens. It's official name is Santa Maria in Vallicella. This church built in 1561 sits on the site of an older church dating back to the 12th century.
Yallicella is reference to a depression which excisted at the time of Ancient Rome. The depression was still noticeable in the 12th century when the church was built and it was almost buried in the ground because of the floods. Therefore it was decided, by the end of the 16th century, to build a new church and the work was assigned to Filippo Neri. Construction of the church was completed in 1606 and since that time Santa Maria in Vallicella is more commonly known as Chiesa Nuova.
Since that time the whole square was named after the church, Piazza della Chiesa Nuova.
Right next to the Chiesa Nuova is Oratorio dei Filippini, designed in 1637 by the architect Francesco Borromini. In 1925 Fontana della Terrina was relocated from Campo dei Fiori to this square. In 1910 the square was embelished with the monument to Metastasio, an 18th century poet and librettist.
What was meant to be church that would epitomize simplicity as envisioned by the founder of the order known as Congregation of the Oratory - the friar San Filippo Neri - ended up richly decorated in frescoes after his death. San Filippo Neri did not only preach humility - but also admonished his aristocratic followers to practice such noble trait by becoming the laborers during the construction of the church. What a an ingenious way to keep construction cost manageable!
Built in the 16th century for San Filippo Neri, a reformist saint, Chiesa Nuova replaced the mediaeval church of Santa Maria in Vallichella. The new Baroque church was immediately called Chiesa Nuova, i.e. New Church, simply because it had replaced the older one. Against the wishes of San Filippo, after his death, the interior was elaborately decorated with beautiful frescoes by the Baroque artist, Pietro da Cortona. Also among the church's treasures are three paintings by Ruebens. Adjacent to Chiesa Nuova is the 17th century Oratorio dei Filippini, a Barromini work for the fraternity of Saint Philip Neri.
Begun in 1575 by Matteo da Città di Castello and continued by Martino Longhi the Elder, it was consecrated in 1599. Pietro da Cortona frescoed the nave, dome and apse. There are also three paintings by Rubens: Madonna and Angels above the altar, Saints Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus on the right of the altar, and Saints Gregory, Maurus and Papias on the left.
St. Philip's Chiesa Nuova rose on the site of an earlier church called Santa Maria in Vallicella, founded by St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century (his statue and inscription still decorate the church facade). When Santa Maria in Vallicella was rebuilt in the late 16th century, Rome was just emerging from a dark period of spiritual indifference and social decay. Many Renaissance popes had been worldly and corrupt, and the Protestant revolt had exploded throughout Europe, sending its soldiers to humiliate the Pope's capital in 1527. Santa Maria in Vallicella became the center of Philip Neri's spiritual and social renewal. It was immediately dubbed Chiesa Nuova (New Church) by enthusiastic Romans, still its preferred name today. Neri had wished the walls of his church to be left white and undecorated. However, the Baroque century, which followed, had other preferences. Today the Chiesa Nuova's interior presents us with a wealth of stucco and painted angels.