How to visit the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Vienna

In Vienna we can find some beautiful churches but perhaps none like the Church of San Carlos Borromeo, a baroque church but reminiscent of styles from other civilizations such as the Greek with its facade or the Roman with its columns.

In fact, the columns are inspired by Trajan’s Column that we can see in Rome.

The church was built by order of Carlos VI who promised the city a church when it overcame the plague that hit it in 1713 in honor of San Carlos Borromeo.

What to see outside the Church of San Carlos Borromeo

Vienna - St. Charles Borromeo ChurchThe most characteristic elements of the exterior of this beautiful Baroque church are undoubtedly its two columns.

As we have said, they are inspired by the famous Trajan’s Column in Rome and in them we can see a beautiful spiral decoration that represents scenes from the life of Saint Charles Borromeo.

Between the two columns is the imposing façade, of clear Greek inspiration. The reliefs of the pediment describe the hardships suffered by the Viennese during the plague of 1713 and on the facade there is a statue of San Carlos Borromeo.

Also noteworthy are the angels that are next to the entrance stairs and that they represent in the New and Old Testaments.

In addition, the church forms a large complex with the fountain that is in front of its façade and that everyone wants to photograph.

Visit the interior of the Church of San Carlos Borromeo

Vienna - Saint Charles Borromeo Church - InteriorFrom the interior of the Church of San Carlos Borromeo we must highlight two fundamental elements.

On the one hand, the High Altar, with San Carlos on a cloud ascending towards the heavens.

But the most important are the paintings of the dome, really impressive. Our gazes must necessarily be directed there.

It must be said that it is also possible to climb the dome. On the other hand, other minor altars and the frescoes in the side chapels stand out.

Who was Saint Charles Borromeo?

Vienna - St. Charles Borromeo Church - DomeAs we have said, the church was built in honor of San Carlos Borromeo after the 1713 plague that hit Vienna. But what does Saint Charles Borromeo have to do with the plague?

Well, this saint was the great hero of the plague that struck Milan 2 centuries earlier, in 1576. Saint Charles was the archbishop of Milan, but when the plague spread through the city, he was away.

When he found out, he quickly returned to Milan and began to help the population without caring that he might get infected.

As one more, he helped those infected and even sold part of his assets to obtain funds for the fight.

The plague ended at the beginning of 1578 and the figure of San Carlos Borromeo was recorded for eternity as the great hero in the fight against that plague.

You can find more information on the official page of the Church of San Carlos Borromeo.

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