Son of stone mason Giovanni Domenico Castelli, Borromini began his career as a stone mason himself, and soon moved to Milan to study and practice this activity. When in Rome (1619) he changed his name (from Castelli to Borromini) and started working for Carlo Maderno, his distant relative, at St. Peter's. When Maderno died, he joined the group of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, with whom he completed Maderno's Palazzo Barberini .
In 1634 he had his first personal work, the reconstruction of the church of San Carlo Borromeo (some authors say it is here that he changed his name).
Borromini's works include:
Borromini lost this work before this was ended due to the death of the Pope Innocent X. The new Pope and Prince Camillo Pamphili called back Rainaldi, but this one didn't change very much and the church is mainly considered a notable expression of Borromini's concepts. These concepts have also being considered as a solution for Bernini's vain search in St.Peter's fašade.
He was also called "Bissone", by the place in which he was born.
In the summer of 1667, Borromini, suffering from nervous disorders and depression), committed suicide after the completion of the Falconieri chapel (the main chapel) in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, where he was buried.
Karl Baedeker's 1883 Guide of Central Italy reports: Maderno with Borromini and Carlo Fontana were the leaders of that band of Artists who conspired to rob architecture of its fitting repose and (...) substituted a turbulent unrest
Francesco Borromini was featured on the 100 Swiss Franc banknote current in the 1980s.