All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in October 2009.
S. Maria in Campo Carleo (Book 6) (Map B3) (Day 1) and (Day 3) (View C8) (Rione Monti)
In his choice of the parish churches of Rome for Book 6, Vasi was sometimes driven by his interest in sketching scenes of ordinary life. He did not know that some of these minor subjects would have become the only visual memory of a neighbourhood which was pulled down to excavate the ruins of the Imperial Fora. The origin of Campo Carleo is uncertain: it is thought that either a Byzantine officer named Kaloleon or a Carolo Leonis had their residence in the area.
The view is taken from the green dot in the small 1748 map here below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Strada dei Conti; 2) Tower of Palazzo del Marchese del Grillo; 3) Strada Alessandrina; 4) Walls of Monasterio della SS. Nunziata; 5) Ruins of Tempio della Pace; 6) Chiesa di S. Urbano. 2) and 4) are shown in detail in other pages. The small map shows also 7) S. Maria in Campo Carleo.
Via Alessandrina is still there but all the buildings which flanked it do not exist any longer. The street was named after Cardinal Michele Bonelli, known as Cardinal Alessandrino because he came from Alessandria, a town in northern Italy. He lived in a nearby palace; between 1567 and 1570 he promoted the draining of a swamp at Arco dei Pantani and the opening of a new street between Piazza della Colonna Trajana and Tempio della Pace.
The large basilica which Vasi called Tempio della Pace is now referred to as Basilica di Massenzio; the actual Templum Pacis has been identified in the foundations of Monastero dei SS. Cosma e Damiano.
S. Maria in Campo Carleo was pulled down in 1884, whereas the other buildings along Via Alessandrina survived until the 1930s when the excavations of the Imperial Fora and the desire to provide Rome with "imperial" avenues led to the total pulling down of the area. According to Antonio Munoz, the Fine Arts Superintendent in charge at the time of the excavations, the churches and houses which were lost had no significant historic or artistic value, the only exception being the Late Renaissance house of Flaminio Ponzio (the building with a balcony on the left side of Via Alessandrina), which was reconstructed in Piazza di S. Maria in Campitelli.
Palazzo del Marchese del Grillo now directly looks over the Imperial Fora and its owners have increased the number of windows and terraces enjoying the view. Also the loggia of Casa dei Cavalieri di Rodi, an early Renaissance building, has gained from the changes brought about in the 1930s.
The basilica is named after Maxentius, who built it in 306-12; it was completed by Emperor Constantine. The front of the building was embellished with eight gigantic Corinthian columns, of which one is left and it is now opposite S. Maria Maggiore, where it was relocated by Pope Paul V in 1613. The colossal vaults and their decoration were a source of inspiration for many artists. The maps showing the expansion of the Roman Empire were added in the 1930s (there used to be also another map showing the short-lived Italian Empire which was declared by Mussolini after the conquest of Ethiopia in 1936).
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 6: S. Agnese fuori delle mura