This sumptuously decorated church was built between 1491 and 1656 in an area where in those day, the upper middelclass and aristocracy was living. To show their wealth, they wanted a tower that would be higher than the one of the Our Ladies Cathedral . After 55 metres, they had to give up this ambition, but this explains the imposing base of the tower.
They had more success with the interiour of the church. You find more than 100 kinds of marble, though to the eighteenth-century prefect from the Vatican, Cardinal Garampi, said they ‘could scarcely have been worked more skillfully’. On the walls, you find paintings from the most important painters from the city.
There are 23 altars.
Rubens thomb (the major attraction of this church anyway)lies behind the main altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. The painting ‘Our Lady surrounded by saints’ was painted by him for his burial monument. Experts have found out that it is actually a family portrait with Rubens as St. George.