The church was built in 1744 by Francesco Maria Ruspoli Prince of Cerveteri, who bought the feud of Riano from the Cesi family in 1710.
For the construction of the church Prince Ruspoli chose architect Carlo Marchionni (1702-1786), one of the most famous architects in Rome at the time.
Since 1752 Marchionni took over the administration of Vanvitelli Chamber in the "St. Peter Factory" (the St.Peter new basilic building project) of which he became chief executor.
Arch. Marchionni also designed the casino of Villa Albani and he was appointed Prince of Academy of St. Luca.
Here are some of Marchionni’s pencil, ink and watercolor sketches of the Church, actually kept at the Vatican library.
The church, formerly called "Church of Procoio" , was then dedicated to St. Francis.
Prospectus of the Church’s front.
longitudinal section of the Church
cross section of the Church
Some decorations were removed from the initial project (stucco and niches) in order to contain costs, preserving however the sacred and rural style of a Church that allowed the Family to follow the functions without having to reach the Church in the village of Riano.
However, a Church in the village already existed, nevertheless the Prince wanted to rebuild it bigger and independent from the adjacent farmhouse, using the decorative elegance so dear to architect C. Marchionni.
The Procoio Vecchio farm, that encompasies the village, is owned by the Boncompagni Ludovisi family. It constitutes part of the feud of Riano, which was bought by the Cesi family in 1571 and later sold in 1710 to the Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli.
After the prince Ruspoli bought the feud, he begun to restructure the existing farmhouses and to build a new church.
He commissioned the project to the then famous architect Carlo Marchionni.
The feud was sold by the Prince Ruspoli in 1818 to Principe Luigi Boncompagni Ludovisi. The farm of Procoio Vecchio is still owned by direct descendants of Prince Luigi Boncompagni Ludovisi.
The Village, established around the year 1600, is the heart of the Procoio Vecchio Estate.
It consists in a Villa, a farmhouse and several rural outbuildings.
After crossing the main gate from via Tiberina, you enter the park that surrounds the village, enveloped by its green gardens with tall forest trees, lawns and fountains; spaces that have preserved the same athmosphere since the architects of the Ruspoli princes restored the buildings and built the church.
On top of the hill, protected by a small pine forest, you can see the ruins of a fourteenth century tower.