All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore. Page revised in June 2009.
S. Marco (Book 6) (Day 3) (View C7) (Rione Pigna)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Coat of arms of Pope Paul II
The Plate (No. 115)
The plate is dedicated to the church of S. Marco and to the adjoining palaces, which all were built or renovated at the initiative of Pope Paul II; it also shows (far right) the tip of Colonna Trajana. 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) Palazzetto Venezia; 2) Arch linking Palazzetto Venezia with Palazzo Campidoglio; 3) SS. Nome di Maria; 4) Madama Lucrezia. 2) and 3) are shown in detail in other pages. The dotted line in the small map delineates the borders of four rioni: Pigna (upper left corner), Campitelli (lower left corner), Trevi (upper right corner) and Monti (lower right corner).
In 1910-11 Palazzetto Venezia was pulled down to enlarge Piazza Venezia and to allow the view of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel. In 1930-32 the buildings opposite the church were pulled down: these included the house of Pietro da Cortona, mentioned by Vasi in his guide to Rome. The loggia of the church was brought back to its original design by pulling down the added walls which obscured it.
This very old church was adorned with a fine Renaissance loggia at the expense of Cardinal Pietro Barbo, who became Pope Paul II. His coats of arms, both as a cardinal and as a pope, are placed in many parts of the building and his heraldic symbol (a lion) is also a main motif of the decoration. The pope was Venetian and this explains his devotion for St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. The loggia was used by Pope Paul II for blessing the crowd, because he continued to reside in his palace after having been elected pope (you may wish to see it in a 1588 Guide to Rome). S. Marco was the national church of the Venetian community in Rome (click here for a list of national churches in Rome). This explains why so many Venetian cardinals were buried in S. Marco.
The interior has some very interesting baroque monuments: that to Cardinal Marcantonio Bragadin shows the influence of Bernini's Monument to Maria Raggi; Cardinal Bragadin had the same name as his uncle who commanded the garrison in Famagusta, the last Venetian stronghold in Cyprus, which fell in 1571 to the Turks (Marcantonio Bragadin was flayed alive). The monument to Cardinal Cristoforo Vidman is one of the many monuments showing the dead in the act of praying.
Palazzetto Venezia was rebuilt to the left of the church, opposite to the previous position. The building was known for its viridarium, a garden with a fountain where the pope enjoyed walking, a practice he shared with the Roman emperors who did this in their palaces on the Palatine (the garden can be seen in the small map at the beginning of the page).
Still at the same location is the statue of Madama Lucrezia, the mutilated marble bust of a colossal statue of Isis, which was in nearby Iseo Campense. With Pasquino and Marforio it was one of the talking statues of Rome (click here to learn more about Madama Lucrezia and the Talking Statues of Rome).
The Coats of arms of Paulus II
One of the coats of arms of the pope is a very fine work which anticipates that of Pope Sixtus IV in the Sistine Chapel.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 6: SS. Venanzio e Ansovino
Next step in Day 3 itinerary: Macel de' Corvi
Last step in tour of Rione Pigna: S. Lucia dei Ginnasi