All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore. Page revised in May 2009.
SS. Celso e Giuliano (Book 6) (Day 4 ) and (Day 7 ) (View C4) (Rione Ponte), (Rione Parione) and (Rione Regola)
In this page:
This street (currently known as Via del Banco di S. Spirito) on the opposite end of the street offers the striking view of the
Bridge and of Castel
Sant'Angelo (see picture of today's view). It was part of the Papal street linking St Peter's with
St John's in Lateran. After his election the Pope went from the Vatican to St John's in Lateran,
which is the Church of the Bishop of Rome. He mounted a white horse (or mule) and during the procession he was paid homage to
by the various communities (including the Jewish one) living in the areas the procession went across. For the occasion ephemeral triumphal arches were built and fake fašades covered
the buildings in poor condition (you may wish to learn more on this ceremony).
The street is not the large avenue shown in the plate and Palazzo del Banco di S. Spirito is placed differently from how Vasi shows it in the plate (its fašade is covered by Palazzo Alberini). Overall changes are rather limited.
SS. Celso e Giuliano
A church by this name is recorded in the year 1008: it was demolished by Pope Julius II (1503-13) to enlarge the street: he commissioned a new building to Donato Bramante, but this was not completed according to the original plan. Eventually the church was entirely rebuilt by Carlo De Dominicis during the pontificate of Pope Clement XII (in the image used as background for this page you can see the pope's coat of arms).
De Dominicis made reference to Borromini's works, in particular to S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and to the use of heads of angels as decorative elements. The bell tower and small turrets on the roof have an onion shape, which is unusual in Rome, but is typical of Baroque Vienna.
Palazzo Alberini was enlarged in the XIXth century and it has now seven windows instead of four. The palace was initially built in the XVIth century and its design was attributed to Giulio Romano by Giorgio Vasari who added that some thought Raphael had contributed to it.
Arco dei Banchi e Oratorio di S. Celso
The print by Vasi shows to the right a little arch. One of its pillars has a marble inscription recording the level of a Tiber flood dating back to November 1277: it is the oldest existing record of this kind and it was originally placed in the porch of old SS. Celso e Giuliano. Inscriptions recording Tiber floods can be found in several places in Rome and not only close to the river such as Porto di Ripetta and Chiesa di S. Rocco, but also in areas far from it. The fašade of S. Maria sopra Minerva has some almost elegant inscriptions recording floods occurred in 1530 and in 1598 (when the highest level was recorded).
Oratorio di S. Celso is located behind SS. Celso e Giuliano: it has a finely designed XVIth century fašade: it belonged to a brotherhood and thus it is also known as Oratorio della Confraternita del SS. Sacramento (Eucharist).
Palazzo del Banco di S. Spirito
The Popes too needed a bank! Florentine bankers lived in this area and this is still testified by their national church (S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini) and by the names of the streets (Via delle Palle, Via Acciaioli). The Popes felt the need to have a "national" bank and in 1605 Pope Paul V founded it: it was named Banco di S. Spirito because it was placed under the management of the Commendatore (officer in charge) dello Spedale di S. Spirito and because its profits supported that institution. In 1667 Pope Clement IX relocated the institution to this palace which previously housed the Mint which Pope Alexander VII had moved to a new building in the Vatican Gardens. Because Banco di S. Spirito was the new bank, the street of the Florentine bankers was renamed Via dei Banchi Vecchi (old banks).
The building was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger for Pope Leo X; its design is remarkable because the fašade is slightly concave, a very innovative feature which was greatly praised by Giorgio Vasari.
The little church of S. Maria della Purificazione which stood opposite Banco di S. Spirito was pulled down in 1888. It belonged to the French Nation. The reliefs which decorated its entrance were moved to the courtyard of Palazzo di S. Luigi.
Palazzo Sforza Cesarini
Palazzo Sforza Cesarini was built by Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (who became Pope Alexander VI in 1492) when he was appointed Chancellor by his uncle Callistus III. The fašade in Via dei Banchi Vecchi was largely modified in the XVIIIth century and in the late XIXth century the building was in part pulled down and rebuilt to make room for a new large street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Only by walking into the courtyard one can see its Renaissance design.
Palazzo dei Pupazzi
Near Palazzo Sforza Cesarini there is an interesting house built by Gian Pietro Crivelli, a goldsmith from Milan, in 1538. The rich decoration is by Giulio Mazzoni (see Palazzo Spada): the military emblems were familiarly called pupazzi (puppets) and so the palace is known as Palazzo dei Pupazzi (there is another palace by this name near S. Giuseppe a Capo le Case).
The fašade of S. Lucia was redesigned by Marco David in 1765 and
the interior was the object of many changes in the 1860's, so little is
left of the old church, which was very popular. S. Lucia is the patron
of sight and the church received votive offerings of golden eyes. Benvenuto
Cellini who lived nearby is known for having offered a golden eye which he personally chiselled. The little church of S. Stefano in Piscivola which was located opposite S. Lucia was pulled
down in the late XIXth century. A sacred image of S. Stefano marks the modern building which replaced the church. After S. Lucia del Gonfalone Via dei Banchi Vecchi
becomes Via di Monserrato.
A narrow street separates S. Lucia del Gonfalone from a Renaissance unfinished palace designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
for Pietro Fieschi, Bishop of Cervia. It is not the only Renaissance building near the church:
in the nearby alley named after Benvenuto Cellini, a house retains its graffito decoration: the narrowness of the alley
preserved the painting from being damaged by the rain.
This large late Renaissance building was most likely designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati, a
Florentine sculptor and architect who often worked in Rome,
employed by popes and families who came from Tuscany. It does not attract a lot of attention, even though it has one of the first and most
elegant Roman loggias. The Vecchiarelli were a family of rich landowners from Rieti.
Next plate in Book 6: S. Tomaso in Parione
Next step in Day 4 itinerary: S. Maria in Vallicella
Next step in Day 7 itinerary: Chiesa di S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
Next step in your tour of Rione Ponte: Chiesa di S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
Start your tour of Rione Parione: next step: Chiesa di S. Maria in Vallicella
Start your tour of Rione Regola: next step: Carceri Nuove