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March 5, 2005 additions

In plate 18: Porta Pertusa
Casale di S. Pio V

Casale di S. Pio V

Pius V built in the open countryside behind the Vatican walls a residence where he often went to rest. It was most likely designed by the Florentine architect Nanni di Baccio Bigio. At the end of the XIXth century it became (and still is) a house for the blind; this required several modifications to the building; nonetheless the main courtyard retains an elegant design. The well indicates that the casale was built before Acqua Paola brought water to this part of Rome.

In plate 31: Parte di Campo Vaccino presso il Campidoglio
Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome

The first attempts to reconstruct from the remaining buildings the whole appearance of Ancient Rome, date back to the XVth century. In 1553 the painter and architect Pirro Ligorio published Libro delle Antichità di Roma (Book on the Roman Antiquities) dedicated to Cardinal Ippolito d'Este for whom he had designed Villa d'Este, which was followed by a double map showing both modern and ancient Rome.
In Reverend Jeremiah Donovan's guide of Rome published in 1844, a description of the monuments of the Forum was accompanied by an etching by Gaetano Cottafavi based on a watercolour by the English architect/archaeologist Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) (click here to see it), who was for many years the Architect of the Bank of England.
The image shows in yellow the surviving monuments: (left to right) three columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, Portico of the Temple of Saturn, three columns of the Temple of Vespasianus, the Tabularium, the Arch of Septimius Severus, Curia Julia and Temple of Annia Faustina (S. Lorenzo in Miranda).

In plate 73: Palazzo Farnese
Palazzo Fioravanti

Palazzo Fioravanti

Palazzo Farnese influenced the design of this XVIth century building at the beginning of Via di Monserrato which leads to the church by the same name. The pediments of the main windows are alternately triangular or round, the same design occurring in Palazzo Farnese and repeated in so many other Renaissance palaces and in particular in XIXth century Renaissance style palaces. It is called Palazzo Fioravanti because it belonged to this family in 1748 when Giovanni Battista Nolli designed a very detailed map of Rome: for minor buildings the names he gave in the legend to his map have become the official names by which art historians and detailed guides call the buildings.
Palazzetto Giangiacomo in Via di Monserrato, again known after its 1748 owners, was built in 1582 and its design shows the use of an architectural development (the colossal pillars) introduced by Michelangelo in Palazzo dei Conservatori.

In plate 81: Ponte Mammolo
Tor Cervara

Tor Cervara

Tor Cervara, a tall medieval tower near an abandoned tufa quarry on the Via Tiburtina, was the site of a carnival which was celebrated by the German artists living in Rome on the 1st of May, a day of joy across the Rhine, where they solemnized the new season. It was a sort of burlesque exhibition of pagan rites, to which most of the foreign artists gladly participated. It had its dignitaries, its militia, its corporations of musicians, of high priests, of cooks, of poets, of master of ceremonies all dressed up in grotesque costumes.
At daybreak the whole band went out by Porta Maggiore, and proceeded towards Tor de' Schiavi on the Via Prenestina, whence the procession turned northwards to make its way to the grottos of Cervara. Asses furnished a heroic mount to the participants, they were harnessed in toys from Nurnberg and their riders were clad in garments which made them look like good-men of the woods. The day quite obviously ended with everybody getting drunk.
German artists used to live near S. Isidoro in a street which for this reason is called Via degli Artisti.
The tradition was lost towards the end of the XIXth century. The sketch shown above together with a current image of Tor Cervara was drawn by Henri Regnault (1843-1871), a young French painter, who clearly took part with his fellow German friends in the ceremonies. Little did he know then that he would lose his life in January 1871, in the war which broke out between France and the German States led by Prussia.


In plate 87 iii: Fianco della Lungara e di Strada Giulia
Collegio Ghislieri and other Renaissance palaces

Collegio Ghislieri

Giuseppe Ghislieri a doctor and a distant relative of Pope Pius V founded in 1630 an institution for the education of 24 students belonging to families who could not pay tuition fees. In 1670 the institution bought a large building in Via Giulia: the portal was decorated with a relief showing the Holy Family and a long inscription celebrating Ghislieri. The portal is nearly the only remaining part of the building because in the 1930s a modern school replaced the old college.
Other historical buildings in the vicinity of Collegio Ghislieri retain their Renaissance aspect: the windows shown above belong to the house built for himself by the sculptor Guglielmo Della Porta while the portal belongs to an adjoining house owned by him. He is known for the monument to Pope Paulus III in St. Peter's.

In plate 118: Chiesa di S. Niccolò in Carcere
Offices of the Guilds

Offices of the Guilds

Everybody knows the grand entrance to Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo. Not many are aware that during working hours the piazza can be reached from S. Niccolò in Carcere going up through a park on the southern side of the hill. One reaches a Renaissance loggia identical to and facing that of Convento di S. Maria in Aracoeli; the buildings on both sides of the steps leading down to the piazza hosted the offices of the Roman guilds, which were decorated with inscriptions and reliefs showing the instruments of their trade (MURATOR. = masons; AROMATARIOR. = Perfume makers).

In plate 163: Collegio Romano e S. Ignazio
The Missing Dome

The missing dome

The initial design of the church included a dome, but when in 1685 the rest of of the church was completed, the Jesuits had no money left for the construction of the dome. At this point a member of the order, Andrea Pozzo, suggested painting the inside of the dome on a canvas laid among the pillars upon which the dome was supposed to be built, to complete at least the interior of the church. His knowledge of perspective laws led to a very successful result and the matter was settled for good. In the main nave a circle of yellow marble indicates the point assumed by Pozzo to develop his calculations. Moving away from there, one gradually notices that S. Ignazio has a rather unusual dome. The image on the left shows a model of the dome.


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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.