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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. 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:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 SS. Celso e Giuliano
 Palazzo Alberini
 Arco dei Banchi e Oratorio di S. Celso
 Palazzo del Banco di S. Spirito (and S. Maria della Purificazione)
 Palazzo Sforza Cesarini
 Palazzo dei Pupazzi
 S. Lucia del Gonfalone e S. Stefano in Piscivola
 Palazzo del Vescovo di Cervia e Casa di Vicolo Cellini
 Palazzo Vecchiarelli

The Plate (No. 109)

This street (currently known as Via del Banco di S. Spirito) on the opposite end of the street offers the striking view of the Angel's 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 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) Palazzo Alberici (the correct name is Alberini); 2) Vicolo di Panico, a small street leading to Via dei Coronari; 3) Papal Street; 4) Banco di S. Spirito; 5) Strada di Banchi Vecchi; 6) S. Maria della Purificazione. The small map shows also 7) S. Lucia del Gonfalone; 8) Palazzo Sforza Cesarini; 9) Arco dei Banchi; 10) Oratorio di S. Celso; 11) Palazzo del Vescovo di Cervia; 12) Casa di Vicolo Cellini; 13) Palazzo Vecchiarelli. The dotted line in the small map delineates the border between Rione Ponte, Rione Regola (the area around No 7) and Rione Parione (lower right quarter).


(left) The view in April 2009; (right) the area seen from the opposite end of the street

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

(left) SS. Celso e Giuliano; (right) detail of its fašade

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).

Various details of SS. Celso e Giuliano including its bell tower

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.

Decoration of the interior of the elliptical dome

Palazzo Alberini

(left) Palazzo Alberini; (right) detail of its design

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

(left) Inscription at Arco dei Banchi; (centre/right) Oratorio di SS. Celso e Giuliano

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).

Sacred images in nearby Vicolo della Campanella (left/centre) and at the beginning of Via dei Coronari (right)

Palazzo  del Banco di S. Spirito

(left) Palazzo del Banco di S. Spirito; (right) Via dei Banchi Nuovi and at its end Piazza dell'Orologio

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).

(left) Central part of the fašade where a coat of arms of Pope Clement VII hung from the lion's head; the inscription summarizes the changes made by the popes; (right-above) coat of arms of Pope Paul V; (right-below) coat of arms of Pope Clement IX

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

(left) Modern fašade of Palazzo Sforza Cesarini; (right) old part of the courtyard

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

(left) Palazzo dei Pupazzi; (right) detail of its decoration

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).

S. Lucia del Gonfalone

(left) S. Lucia del Gonfalone; (centre) its bell tower; (right) a sacred image portraying S. Stefano

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.

Palazzo del Vescovo di Cervia e Casa di Vicolo Celllini

(left) Palazzo del Vescovo di Cervia; (right) details of a house in Vicolo Cellini

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.

Palazzo Vecchiarelli

(left) Palazzo Vecchiarelli; (right) detail of its loggia

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.

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Chiesa de' ss. Celso, e Giuliano
Si crede, che questa chiesa sia stata fondata quando i corpi di quei ss. Martiri furono d'Antiochia portati a Roma, e per˛ in essa da Clemente VIII. furono trasportati dalla chiesa di s. Paolo fuori delle mura, ove erano stati fin allora riposti. La chiesa stava prima dall' altra parte incontro, e si vede ancora una porzione dell'antico portico nel cantone verso la piazza, la quale fu atterrata perchŔ impediva la strada papale, aperta da Clem. VII. incontro al ponte: e perchŔ era collegiata, e parrocchiale, acci˛ non si tralasciasse il servigio divino e non si perdesse la memoria de' detti Santi, fu eletta una casa vicina. Nel Pontificato di Clem. XII. fu riedificata di nuovo la chiesa, col disegno di Carlo de Dominicis, e fu ornata di quadri moderni, fra' quali il battesimo di Ges¨ Cristo Ŕ di Gaetano Lapis, e i santi Titolari sull'altare sono di Pompeo Battoni, i laterali per˛ sono, quello a destra di Franc. Caccianica, e di quello a sinistra non se ne fa il nome. Fra le reliquie si conserva in questa chiesa un piede di s. Maria Maddalena; e dal le memorie antiche si sa, che a sinistra di questa erano i vestigj dell'Arco di Graziano, Valentiniano, e Teodosio Imperatori, eretto per ornamento di un magnifico portico, che comunemente si crede, che portasse alla Basilica Vaticana. Siegue dopo il
Banco di s. Spirito, e palazzo Alberini
Con bel disegno di Bramante Lazzari fu eretto questo magnifico sý, ma piccolo palazzo, come ancora quello, che noi diciamo banco di s. Spirito. Fu il secondo veramente destinato per uso della Zecca Pontificia; ma perchŔ ne fu poi eretta una nuova, e pi¨ comoda, come diremo a suo luogo, quivi fu aperto un banco per comodo dello spedale di s. Spirito, e poi coll'autoritÓ di Paolo V. fu renduto pubblico, e perci˛ furono ipotecate le terre, castelli, e tutti li beni del medesimo spedale in favore de' mercanti o altri, che vi depositassero il loro danaro. La strada a destra dicesi di banchi vecchi, perchŔ ivi furono, prima che fosse edificata la Curia Innocenziana a monte Citorio, le banche de' Notari.
s. Lucia del Confalone detta alla chiavica
Incontro alle divisate carceri sta questa chiesa, voltata per˛ sull'altra strada, che dicesi della chiavica.
Era questa da principio unita alla Badia di S. Biagio della pagnotta, poi alla basilica Vaticana; ma essendo nell'an. 1264. eretta la celebre Archiconfraternita del Confalone, a questa fu data, la quale per l'antichitÓ trovandosi in stato deplorabile, finalmente ora si sta fabbricando con magnificenza secondo il disegno di Marco David. Tiene per˛ un oratorio particolare ornato tutto di pitture, il quale corrisponde nel vicolo a sinistra di strada Giulia; ma prima di ritornare su quella, conviene ossservare in primo luogo la
Chiesa di s. Stefano in Piscivola
Incontro alla suddetta chiesa di s. Lucia, Ŕ quella di s. Stefano, la quale porta un tal nome forse dal pesce, che su questa piazza suol vendersi, o pure per qualche piscina antica, essendosi trovati nel fare i fondamenti della nuova chiesa, de' marmi e colonne di verde antico, quali dimostrano esservi nato nobile edifizio, a cui potŔ essere unita la piscina, tanto pi¨, che fin quý, si crede, che giungessero le mura di Roma ampliate dall'Imperatore Claudio. Poco dopo si vede sulle mura di una casa una lapide con iscrizione del 1496. e poi il
Palazzo Sforza
In questo antichissimo palazzo, fino al tempo di Alessandro VI. risedettero i ministri della Dateria Apostolica, vedendosi ancora l'antica struttura gotica nel cortile, e ne' portici, con varie arme de' Pontefici. Passato poi ai duchi Sforza e Cesarini, lo hanno alquanto rimodernato verso la strada e la piazza Sforza.

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