22 Papal Hearts at Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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22 Papal Hearts at Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi

Bulgarian Orthodox Church

This former Roman Catholic Church still contains the embalmed hearts and organs of 22 popes. 


In 2002, Pope John Paul II gifted use of Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi in Rome to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, but 22 hearts of the popes remain in the marble urns.

The popes are listed to the left of the altar and their reigns range form Sixtus V in 1583 to Leo XIII in 1903. The custom of separating the organs from the corpse was called praecordia and was done to prevent decay while funeral arrangements were made.

There is a large collection of ex voto in this church, most depicting the Sacred Heart. These are small metal ornaments that are left by the faithful as a token of thanks when their prayers are answered.

The church faces the more famous Trevi Fountain. As with many churches in Italy, the dress code is strictly enforced. Bare shoulders and knees are prohibited.

Know Before You Go

Directly across the street from the Trevi FountainThe church is often closed to tourists, especially during the summertime. They do not have posted hours and thus you may just have to go and check if they are open when you would like to go.

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