Concierge.com's insider take:
In 1606, tortured genius Michelangelo Merisi—a.k.a. Caravaggio—fled Rome after killing a man over a tennis match. Behind him he left some of the Eternal City's most striking artwork. The church of San Luigi dei Francesi contains his St. Matthew cycle (1598–1601), three works that, with their haunting realism and groundbreaking use of light and shade, redefined painting in Rome. In Santa Maria del Popolo are The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul, two huge works made in 1601. The exquisitely touching Madonna of the Pilgrims (1603) in Sant'Agostino shocked contemporaries with its dirty supplicants kneeling before Mary. Other masterpieces by Caravaggio can be found in the Vatican Museums, the Palazzo Barberini, and the Borghese Gallery, which houses David With the Head of Goliath (1609), in which the head of Goliath is believed to be a self-portrait.
San Luigi dei Francesi
Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi
Tel: 39 06 688 271
Open Fridays through Wednesdays 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 to 7 pm, Thursdays 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Tel: 39 06 6880 1962
Daily 8 am to noon and 4 to 7:30 pm.
Santa Maria del Popolo
12 Piazza del Popolo
Tel: 39 06 361 0836
Mondays through Saturdays 7 am to noon and 4 to 7 pm, Sundays 7:30 am to 1:45 pm and 4:30 to 7:30 pm.