The Theatine wanted the construction of the important church of San Vincenzo, in the place of a former one, in 1617. The model was the Roman church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, whose facade is very similar. The most famous architects of the time worked on the project (even if their ideas were only partially realized): namely Bartolomeo Avanzini and Guarino Guarini.
The facade dates from 1761 and houses the statues of Faith, Hope, Saint Vincent and San Gaetano da Thiene (founder of the order). In 1836, Duke Francesco IV decided to transform the church into Pantheon Atestinum, that is a place to bury his predecessors. Before, they were in the church of Sant’Agostino°°, which in fact has this inscription on the portal.
The interior, even if it was damaged during World War II in the dome and in the apse, still has incredible works of art and faith. The wonderful frescoed vaulting which survive are by Sebastiano Sansone, Sigismondo Caula and Tommaso Costa.
In the first chapel on the left, Madonna con i Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Gregorio Taumaturgo (1630) by Guercino; in the second one, paintings by Matteo Rosselli and Francesco Brizzi; then a monument to Ferdinand Archduke of Austria (son of Francesco IV). In the transept, a marble pyramid in the canovian style is dedicated to Duke Ercole III.
On the right: in the first chapel, between two beautiful caryatids, San Gaetano by Giovanni Caselli; in the shrine of the second chapel, the extraordinary relic of the Crown of thorns; in the third, Holy Family by Francesco Lauri, a student of Guido Reni. In the transept, the funeral monument to Francesco IV’s wife, Maria Beatrice of Savoy, deceased in 1840.
The rich marble high altar, dedicated to San Vincenzo, is by Tommaso Loraghi and has statues by Giovanni Lazzoni. In the choir, the frescoes are by Filippo Galletti.
On the right, there is the octagonal chapel by the architect Francesco Vandelli (1836) with the graves of Francesco I, II, IV and other members of the Este family, like Laura Martinozzi, cardinal Mazzarino’s niece and regent of the state. Before the chapel, the monument to Ferdinando d’Austria, Francesco IV’s brother.