Queues to Enter St. Ignatius (and for the Mirror)

In front of the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Campo Marzio, Rome, there is almost always a line of tourists waiting to enter. A tourist often has little time and is always in a hurry because there is so much to see in Rome, but don’t be discouraged and especially don’t skip the visit just because of the line: the Church of St. Ignatius is one of the most beautiful and important in Rome and is worth visiting.

Remember that this is a CHURCH, a place of worship where everyone is welcome without distinction, but where you must always maintain a dignified behavior, put your smartphone in airplane mode, and respect the silence.


my advice

The advice to avoid wasting too much time in line is obvious: if you see that the line is too long, come back later. The hours when there are fewer people are early in the morning and late in the evening. Obviously, it’s better to go in the morning if you can: it’s very dark in the evening. During the day, however, the line changes in an unpredictable way: I have passed by many times and seen very long lines, only to find just a few people half an hour later.

Since St. Ignatius is located in the heart of Rome’s center, you can easily visit some places of interest nearby (the closest are the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the delightful elephant holding the obelisk in front of the entrance to the aforementioned basilica, and the Pantheon) and then come back later.

click on the image for the interactive map

map location of St. Ignatius Church in Rome

Another suggestion about the lines at the monuments in the area: in my opinion, it is absolutely not worth waiting in line and paying for a ticket to enter the Pantheon; you can easily look at it from the outside while reading (or listening to a free audio guide) its history. Sure, the interior is interesting, especially for the dome, but it is now a chaotic and noisy place ruined by overtourism. If you really want to enter, the same suggestion applies to St. Ignatius Church: if you find a very long line, come back later.


the second line inside

Returning to the line at St. Ignatius: once you have waited in line at the entrance and entered the church, you will discover that… there is another line inside! Almost all tourists come to this church to take a selfie with the “magic mirror” in the central nave: it is an oblique mirror optimally positioned for taking a selfie with the backdrop of the splendid frescoed ceiling by Andrea Pozzo. In recent years, this mirror has become very famous because it has been advertised on social media and featured in various guides and travel blogs, and this is why there are always long lines in this church.

To avoid wasting too much time inside as well, I recommend applying the same principle valid for the entrance line: if you really want to take a selfie but the line is long when you arrive, then first visit the rest of the church. To better understand and appreciate the various artworks, see the guide to visiting the church.

While you are waiting in line or during your visit to the rest of the church, you could use the time to listen to the free audio guides in multiple languages: see the following section.

Or even better: once inside, before getting in line and before listening to the audio guides, sit in the pews, catch your breath (visiting Rome is always tiring), look around and reflect on this important concept.


free audio guides

Every time I enter St. Ignatius, I always see a sea of tourists wandering disoriented around the church, apparently not understanding what they are seeing. So, I had the idea of publishing some audio guides, to be created in multiple languages, and to be distributed for free through this website. An ambitious project that will require a lot of time and resources, especially because I would like to distribute them in about ten languages to serve the many foreign tourists, particularly those from cultures different from the Catholic Christian one.

Before starting, I would like to gauge interest: if you are interested, write me an email at


I repeat that the audio guides will be absolutely free because I believe that knowledge should be distributed freely. If appreciated, I would like tourists to donate something to support projects for the poor, particularly orphans: I plan to create small projects for them. Donations would be totally voluntary, and even a little would be greatly appreciated.

Let me know what you think: both what you would like to hear in the audio guides and if you would be willing to donate a euro to the poor or orphans.


sit in the pews first

While waiting for the audio guides, the first thing I recommend doing once inside, instead of immediately getting in line again for the photo with the mirror, is to sit in the pews of the church. Sit down, catch your breath, and look around.

Sitting in the pews of the central nave, look around and ask yourself: why all this? Before even getting interested in the history of the artworks and their meaning (connected to the life of St. Ignatius and other Jesuit saints, certainly very interesting and instructive), FIRST ask yourself: why? Why did they spend so much time and money (Cardinal Ludovisi spent a considerable fortune in building this church, hundreds of thousands of scudi) to create all this Baroque splendor?
Was it just to show off and impress visitors? Certainly, Cardinal Ludovisi had allocated 100,000 scudi so that this church “for size and beauty would be inferior to few,” and the style of the time was Baroque, which aimed precisely to strike and impress the visitor, but… but there was certainly something else. There was especially the deep and rooted conviction of exalting God and His work, and obviously the work of the Jesuits.

This is the fundamental point: they really believed in it. By “they” I mean the Jesuits of the time. Ignatius of Loyola firmly believed in God, so much so that he was “crazy about God” (and from the accounts and his own writings, he seems almost a fanatic). Whatever our idea about faith, whatever our opinion on how the Christian faith has been spread over the centuries (sometimes with violence, too often with nauseating hypocrisy and corruption of the dominant clergy), the fact remains that the intensity of Ignatius’ faith and that of his disciples is, in some respects, enviable. They really believed in it, they believed intensely.

… and what do we believe in today?
Modern society leads us to believe in nothing.

What do you believe in?

Do you ever ask yourself existential questions? How was the universe created? And if the universe is infinite… “what’s inside” this infinity? What is there after death?

Instead of immediately getting in line for a selfie with the magic mirror, you can sit in the pews and think about your relationship with the transcendent. Or look around and reflect on the thoughts inspired by what you see around you. Whatever thought it may be.

There are no right or wrong answers. In particular, no one knows the answers to those questions listed above (and many other existential questions). No one knows. Consequently, one might deduce that no one should come and preach to us about what to think.

On this note, don’t misunderstand me: I don’t write this to evangelize (i.e., convert to Christianity by preaching the Gospel). I am a ghibelline (I support the authority of the secular State and am opposed to the temporal power of the Church) and do not want to convert anyone. But I am firmly convinced that it is essential to believe in something: it is necessary to give meaning to one’s life. And it is perfectly fine to believe that there is no God, no Creator Spirit, however you want to name it. But it is essential to ask oneself. And if the answer is “no, I don’t believe in it, it’s all nonsense,” well, that’s fine. You have found your answer. Then, however, you must find some other ethical or moral principle to believe in, otherwise, you will live a life that leads step by step to dehumanization. Netflix and Amazon cannot bring happiness, nor can an occasional nice vacation. Looking into your children’s eyes can bring true happiness, but you must pass on solid values to them, otherwise, they will not grow up well.

So: does God exist? Yes? No? Do you believe in it? Everyone will arrive at their own answer. But it is essential to ask the question. Especially in these times of severe moral and social crisis. It is essential to think (occasionally) about death, to give meaning to life. The only precious life we have.

Churches are the place built by man to meet God, so they are the right place to ask these questions. Feeling free to give our answer. Even “I don’t know, I have no idea, I don’t know what to think,” or “I don’t believe in the Christian God, and I’m not very convinced about other gods either.” Reflecting on the world’s evil often leads to no longer believing in God. No one has the right answer, but it is essential that everyone reflects occasionally to find their own answer.

Churches are an excellent place to reflect on these answers. I personally prefer Romanesque churches or the powerful and unspoiled nature of the Alps, but even the Baroque churches of Rome can bring interesting inspirations.

Those who suggest visiting churches just to take selfies want you not to ask these fundamental life questions. They want you to believe in nothing because then you will be more easily controlled, and it will be easier to sell you anything.


other tips for the visit

This site is entirely dedicated to guides and tips (in multiple languages) for visiting St. Ignatius in Rome.

For more information on the Church of St. Ignatius, read these other in-depth articles:



This site is managed independently and is not affiliated in any way with the Jesuit Order, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the relevant parish, or the Diocese of Rome.
For official information, please consult directly the official sources of the Diocese of Rome or the Jesuit Order.