All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in November 2009.
S. Caterina della Ruota
C2) (Day7) (View D6) (Rione Regola)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
S. Girolamo della CaritÓ
Spada in S. Girolamo della Carità
Cappella Antamoro in S. Girolamo della Carità
S. Caterina della Ruota
S. Tommaso di Canterbury (and Corte Savella)
S. Maria in Monserrato
S. Giovanni in Ayno
Courtyards and Madonnelle
Casa di Pietro Paolo della Zecca
The Plate (No. 111)
In his detailed account of the parish churches Vasi grouped in one
plate two minor churches which are located at the beginning of Via di Monserrato (from Piazza Farnese). This street followed the route of an ancient road leading to Ponte Trionfale; it eventually became one of the streets used by pilgrims to reach Ponte Sant'Angelo and from there S. Pietro. The section covered in this page was named Via di Corte Savella, because of the prison which existed near the square shown in the plate; after this prison was closed in 1652 the street was named after S. Maria di Monserrato, the church of the Catalan community in Rome, which is located further down the street; the final section of the street is Via dei Banchi Vecchi.
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) S. Girolamo della CaritÓ;
2) S. Caterina della Ruota; 3) Palazzo Mastrozzi; 4) Palazzo cieco (blind).
The small map shows also: 5) S. Tommaso di Canterbury; 6) S. Maria di Monserrato; 7) S. Giovanni in Ayno; 8) Palazzo Ricci; 9) Casa di Pietro Paolo della Zecca.
(left) The view over S. Girolamo della CaritÓ and Palazzo Mastrozzi in July 2009; (right) the view over S. Caterina della Ruota and the street leading to Via Giulia with Palazzo cieco in January 2009
Via di Monserrato is a rather narrow street and the churches are exposed to sunlight only in the period near the summer solstice; Vasi showed S. Girolamo della CaritÓ in the afternoon, but in that period of the day the church is shaded by the opposite building, so the image above was taken in the morning; in order to show both S. Caterina della Ruota and Palazzo Cieco it is necessary to wait for a winter day having a soft light.
Apart from this analysis of the difference between engraving and taking photos and without noticing the parked cars this corner of Rome is "as it was".
S. Girolamo della
(left) Detail of the fašade; (right) portal
In 1524 an old church dedicated to S. Girolamo was assigned by Pope Clement VII to Arciconfraternita della CaritÓ, a brotherhood he had founded when he was a cardinal; its members mainly belonged to the Florentine community and S. Filippo Neri (who came from Florence) lived in the adjoining hospital for many years.
In 1647, thanks to a substantial legacy by one of its members, the brotherhood started a total renovation of the church with the assistance of Domenico Castelli (until his death in 1657) and of Carlo Rainaldi.
Spada in S. Girolamo
(left) Front view; (right) monument to Bernardino Lorenzo Spada by Ercole Ferrata (the dead seems to have fallen asleep)
The chapel of the Spada family was thoroughly redesigned by Virgilio
Spada, brother of Cardinal Bernardino Spada, who commissioned Francesco Borromini some improvements to his palace; because of this link some believe that Borromini was involved in the design of the chapel. All the statues are works by pupils of Gian Lorenzo Bernini: two angels by Antonio Giorgetti
hold a long marble cloth: they seem to block the access to the chapel, but the wings of the angel to the right are made of wood and are movable (for more baroque angels click here).
Antamoro in S. Girolamo
(left) Front view; (right) details of the ceiling
The Sicilian architect Filippo Juvarra came to Rome in 1703 at the age of 25; in the nine years he spent in Rome he had only one opportunity to
show his skills. The Antamoro were very wealthy, but definitely not a major Roman family.
Their chapel (dedicated to S. Filippo Neri) was very small, but Juvarra, who had studied the masterpieces of both Borromini and Bernini,
made excellent use of the limited spaced; the stucco and gold decoration recalls the ceiling of il Ges¨.
During his stay in Rome Juvarra published a book of engravings showing the finest coats of arms of the Popes; he then left the city for Turin where he was able to express his talent (see his masterpiece:
Basilica di Superga).
(left) Fašade; centre) inscription celebrating Giuseppe Vasi; (right) ceiling from Cappella di S. Francesco d'Assisi
This medieval church was redesigned in the XVIth century while its fašade is an XVIIIth century work; in origin it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and to distinguish it from the others it was called S. Maria in Caterina, perhaps the name of the founder; over time the exact meaning of this reference was lost and the church ended by being dedicated to S. Caterina della Ruota, i.e. St. Catherine of Alexandria or of the Wheel, after the instrument of her martyrdom (S. Caterina dei Funari is another church dedicated to this saint).
The interior houses an inscription celebrating Giuseppe Vasi which was dictated by his son
Mariano. There is a reference to Palermo (Panormo) (he was born in Corleone, a town near Palermo)
he is described as an architect, sculptor, painter and then his work as etcher is
mentioned. Vasi was buried in S. Gregorio ai Quattro Capi.
In the background of this page you can see Vasi's coat of arms.
The very fine wooden ceiling of the church was moved here
from a chapel in Collegio Ecclesiastico at Ponte Sisto when this building was pulled down in 1883.
(left) Fašade; (right) bell tower
Opposite S. Caterina della Ruota there is the church of S. Tommaso
di Canterbury (St. Thomas Becket). A house with a church for the English pilgrims
was built here in 1363. The buildings were modified and enlarged several
times; in 1654 the Jesuits in charge of Collegio Inglese (the English Seminar) bought Corte Savella, one of the prisons of Rome, which stood next to their property and in 1685 they completed the construction of a new seminar, a very large building; also the bell tower was
built at that time (it clearly shows the influence of Borromini). The reason for this major effort was due to the action of Cardinal Philip Thomas Howard, known as the Cardinal of Norfolk; he hoped to promote the conversion of his country by increasing the number of English Roman Catholic priests who had the opportunity of receiving an in-depth education.
(left) Monument to Sir Thomas Dereham; (right) Faithfulness by Filippo della Valle
In 1798 the church was occupied by
French troops and it was turned into a stable and later on it was damaged by a fire.
It was almost entirely rebuilt in the late XIXth century; the
entrance to the church from Piazza S. Caterina della Ruota is a neo Romanesque
work by Pietro Camporese (click here for a list of national churches in Rome).
The interior retains an XVIIIth century monument to Sir Thomas Dereham, a close friend of James Frances Edward Stuart (James III of England and James VIII of Scotland).
The monument was designed in 1739 by Ferdinando Fuga. The two statues representing Religion and Faithfulness are a fine work by Filippo della Valle.
(left) Overall view; (right) portal
Palazzo Mastrozzi is a late XVIIth century palace with a very elaborate stucco decoration; it was a palazzo da appartamenti, a building split into flats which were rented (for more about this kind of buildings click here).
(left) Detail of the windows; (right-above) detail of the windows; (right-below) a detail of Palazzo Cieco
The windows were decorated with a variety of subjects (shells, masks, young women, etc.) and not with the heraldic symbols of the family owning the palace. Palazzo Mastrozzi, as many other more or less famous buildings of Rome, was recently
repainted using the lighter tints which were in fashion in the XVIIIth century.
Vasi mentions in the plate also a XVIIth century small palace (Palazzo cieco)
with a fine portal. He calls it cieco (blind) because the portal was walled (and still is).
Maria in Monserrato
(left) Overall view; (right) detail of the relief above the entrance
S. Maria in Monserrato is another of the "national" churches of Rome
and more exactly the church of the Catalans and the Aragonese (click here for a list of national churches in Rome). It is dedicated
to Monserrat, the sanctuary near Barcelona which means sawed mountain,
thus Giovanni Battista Contini (a scholar of Bernini) showed the Infant
Jesus sawing a rock. The fašade was initiated by Francesco da Volterra
in 1593, Giovanni Battista Contini completed the lower part in 1675, whilst
the upper part was completed in the XIXth century.
You may wish to see the building as it appeared in a 1588 Guide to Rome.
A little monument contains
the mixed ashes of the two Borgia popes.
(above-left) Overall view; (above-right) sacred image on the adjoining building; (below) inscription on the portal
This little church was deconsecrated in the XIXth century and all
the internal decoration is lost. The reference to Ayno has never been explained. It existed already in the XIIth century and it was larger than today; in the XVIth century it was downsized to make room for Palazzo Ricci and then rebuilt by a certain Giusto Bonanni from S. Gimignano in Tuscany; the rectorate was located in the adjoining building which is decorated with a fine "madonnella".
(left) Overall view; (right) details of the graffiti
Palazzo Ricci is named after Giulio Ricci, who bought it in 1577; the palace was built in the XVth century and its decoration is due to Polidoro da Caravaggio, a pupil of Raphael, who became famous for being able to paint entire buildings; it must be said that in 1525 when he worked at this palace he was in his twenties so he was full of energy; after the Sack of Rome (1527) he left the city and went to Naples and Sicily where he reverted to traditional painting. Most of his Roman works are lost, but some are known through sketches and engravings (you may wish to see another building decorated by Polidoro in Via della Maschera d'Oro). The remaining paintings of Palazzo Ricci were recently restored: they show episodes of the history of Ancient Rome.
Courtyards and Madonnelle
Courtyards: (left) Palazzo D'Aste Pericoli Sterbini; (right) and Palazzo Incoronati Sacripante
Via di Monserrato provides additional material for the pages on the Fountains in the Courtyards of Rome and on the Roman madonnelle.
(left) Near Palazzo Ricci; (centre) opposite Palazzo Incoronati; (right-above) in Palazzo Podocatari; (right-below) Roman inscription at the end of Via di Monserrato stating that Emperor Claudius enlarged the "pomerium" (the sacred boundary) of the City of Rome
Casa di Pietro Paolo della Zecca
(left) Overall view: on the left Via del Pellegrino and on the right Via di Monserrato; (right) details of the graffiti in Via del Pellegrino; (inset) coat of arms of the Habsburgs
Another Renaissance painted building is the house of Pietro Paolo Francisci, called della Zecca (Mint) as
he was in charge of the mint during the pontificate of Pope Paul II (1464-71). It was painted with scenes related to Clelia, the
legendary Roman girl who escaped from the enemy camp and
returned to Rome crossing the Tiber near the point where the house was built. The paintings are lost, but the
building is still interesting for its design at the junction between Via del Pellegrino and Via di Monserrato.
Pietro Paolo della
Zecca hosted in his home Eleanor of Portugal who married in 1462 the Austrian Emperor Frederic III of Habsburg: in memory of the
event a relief with the Habsburg's double-headed eagle was walled on the right side of the building. In the XIXth century
however the double-headed eagle became a symbol of the Austrian domination in Italy and soon after 1870, when Rome
became the capital of Italy, the relief was moved to the courtyard of S. Maria dell'Anima.
The letters AEIOU below the eagle stand for Austriae Est Imperare Orbi Universo (it is the role of Austria to rule over the whole world). You may wish to see some pages on Vienna, the City of the Last Roman Emperors.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Chiesa di s. Caterina della Ruota
Molto antica e ricca dovette essere questa piccola chiesa, poichŔ del 1166. fu da Alessandro III.
unita al Capitolo di s. Pietro. Dicevasi prima s. Maria in Caterina, e s. Maria e Caterina, e per˛ in essa
fu trasportata la statua di detta Santa, che era nell'antichissimo monastero, atterrato per la fabbrica
dell'Anfiteatro Vaticano, e prese il titolo di s. Caterina della Ruota, a distinzione di quella di Siena.
Sono in essa delle pitture a fresco del Muziani, e di altri.
Chiesa di s. Girolamo della CaritÓ
A destra Ŕ questa venerabile chiesa eretta, come si crede, nella casa di s. Paola matrona Romana, perchŔ
vi abitasse per qualche tempo il s. Dottore. Fu giÓ collegiata, e poi vi stettero i frati Osservanti
di s. Francesco fino all'anno 1519. allorchŔ Leone X. la concedŔ alla confraternita della CaritÓ, la quale
esercita varie opere di misericordia verso i poveri, specialmente co' poveri carcerati pagando loro le
spese della carcerazione, e tenendo un Avvocato, ed un Curiale per le loro difese, anco civili. Mantiene
per servigio della chiesa alcuni Preti dotti ed esemplari, fra' quali si annovera s. Filippo Neri, che
vi abit˛ 33.anni, e si conserva ancora la sua stanza, in cui oper˛ molti prodigj, e convers˛ con
s. Carlo Borromeo, con s. Ignazio di Lojola, e con s. Felice Cappuccino, onde Ŕ ridotta ora in
cappella ornata di marmi e di pitture. Fu rinnovata la chiesa l'anno 1660. col disegno di Domenico
Castelli; il prospetto per˛ fu fatto a spese di Fantino Renzi, il quale fece ancora l'altare maggiore
con architettura del Cav. Rainaldi, ornato di marmi, di metalli, e di pietre dure, in cui Ŕ il famoso
quadro di s. Girolamo dipinto dal Domenichino. La cappella a destra ornata tutta di marmi, metalli,
e stucchi dorati, Ŕ disegno del Cav. Javarra, e la statua di s. Filippo Neri Ŕ scultura di Mons¨ le Gros.
Le pitture nella cappella dall'altra parte sono di Durante Alberti; le sculture nella cappella accanto
alla porta sono di Ercole Ferrata, il quadro di s. Pietro nella cappella incontro Ŕ del Muziani; il s. Carlo
Borromeo nell'altra cappella Ŕ di un Torinese, e quello nell'oratorio annesso Ŕ del Romanelli.
Indi passeremo alla vicina
Chiesa di s. Tommaso degli Inglesi
Fu questa da prima dedicata alla ss. TrinitÓ, secondo che si legge, da Offa Re d'Inghilterra l'an. 630.
e vi era unito uno spedale per i pellegrini di quella nazione: ma essendo dipoi cambiato da Gregorio
XIII. in collegio di studenti della medesima nazione, il Card. di Nortfolche nel 1575. rifabricollo di nuovo, e
si vedono nella sala i ritratti di alcuni, che nelle persecuzioni di Enrico VIII. e della Regina Elisabetta
furono fatti morire. Quindi voltando a destra, evvi dopo pochi passi la
Chiesa di s. Maria di Monferrato, e di s. Giovanni in Aino
I nazionali di Aragona avevano fin dall'an. 1350. quý presso uno spedale; ma poi nel 1495. unendosi
con quei di Catalogna, e di Valenza edificarono questa chiesa in onore della santissima Vergine
sotto il titolo di Monteferrato, che si venera in Catalogna. Antonio da Sangallo ne fece il disegno,
fuor che il prospetto, rimaso perci˛ non compito. Carlo V. affinchŔ restasse provvisto lo spedale, si
assegn˛ 500. ducati annui nel Regno di Napoli, e per˛ vi sta un convitto di Preti di quelle nazioni, che
ufiziano la chiesa ancora.
Poco pi¨ oltre evvi la piccola chiesa parrocchiale di s. Gio. in Aino, ed appresso il palazzo Ricci
colla facciata ornata di pitture in chiaro e scuro fatte dal celebre Polidoro, e Maturino da Caravaggio,
ma ridotte in stato quasi invisibile.
Next plate in Book 6: S. Maria in Monticelli
Next step in Day 7 itinerary: Palazzo Sacchetti
Next step in your tour of Rione Regola: Palazzo Montoro