All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in December 2010.
Chiesa di S. Andrea della Valle (Book 7) (Map C2) (Day 4) and (Day 5) (View C7) (Rione Sant'Eustachio)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view (and S. Elisabetta dei Fornari)
S. Andrea della Valle (and Abate Luigi)
Fountain from Borgo
Palazzo Vidoni o Caffarelli
SS. Sudario de' Savojardi
S. Giuliano dei Fiamminghi
S. Maria in Monterone
The Plate (No. 134)
This 1756 etching by Giuseppe Vasi shows a section of Strada Papale, actually a series of streets from Ponte S. Angelo to il Ges¨ which were crossed by the solemn procession which accompanied the newly-elected pope from S. Pietro to S. Giovanni in Laterano. The street was rather narrow and notwithstanding a small square in front of the church, it did not allow a view of the tall fašade of S. Andrea della Valle as that drawn by Vasi.
The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Papal Street; 2) Palazzo della Truglia; 3) Palazzo del Generale Manfroni; 4) Vicolo de' Sediari (a very narrow street leading to Archiginnasio della Sapienza). The small map shows also: 5) S. Andrea della Valle; 6) Palazzo Valle; 7) S. Maria in Monterone; 8) S. Elisabetta dei Fornari; 9) SS. Sudario de' Savojardi; 10) S. Giuliano de' Fiamminghi; 11) Palazzo Vidoni. The dotted line in the small map delineates the border between Rione Parione (left) and Rione Sant'Eustachio (right).
In the plate covering Palazzo Massimi alle Colonne Vasi showed in more detail Palazzo del Generale (Ludovico) Manfroni, a Renaissance building which is best known as Palazzo di Girolamo Pichi, its founder.
In the late XIXth century this section of the Papal Street was enlarged by pulling down the buildings which were not regarded as having a significant historical or artistic value and it was renamed Corso Vittorio Emanuele; Palazzo Trulli (or della Truglia) was demolished and replaced by a building which was aligned with the fašade of S. Andrea della Valle and situated at a greater distance from the church; also the small church of S. Elisabetta dei Fornari which adjoined Palazzo Trulli was pulled down; it belonged to the brotherhood of the German bakers and it was one of many churches belonging to a guild.
In 1936-38 a new large street (Corso Rinascimento) replaced Vicolo dei Sediari; this street brought an additional wave of traffic right to the front of the church, but it also allowed a better view of the fašade designed by Carlo Rainaldi in 1655-65. Vasi showed in his plate statues also in the two upper niches, which now are empty and he also showed two angels at the sides of the upper part of the fašade, while today there is only one of them. It is possible that at Vasi's time the decoration of the fašade was completed with ephemeral cardboard or plaster statues.
S. Andrea della Valle
The Theatines belonged to an order founded in the XVIth century with the aim of restoring respect and admiration for the Roman Catholic Church by adopting an austere lifestyle and by fighting the teachings of Martin Luther; Pietro Carafa, one of the founding members of the order became pope in 1555 with the name of Paul IV; in 1582 the order was bequeathed a palace which included a small church by Costanza Piccolomini d'Aragona, Duchess of Amalfi, with the obligation of building a large church dedicated to St. Andrew, the patron saint of Amalfi; in 1591 the first stone of the new church was laid; in 1608 Cardinal Alessandro Peretti, nephew of Pope Sixtus V commissioned Carlo Maderno the completion of the church with the erection of the second largest dome of Rome.
The dome was completed in 1622; Maderno designed a fašade similar to that of S. Susanna, but his project was not entirely followed by Carlo Rainaldi who completed the church at the request of Francesco, another Cardinal Peretti, during the pontificate of Pope Alexander VII.
The church is called della Valle because it is located near Palazzo Valle; the first act of Tosca, a popular opera by Giacomo Puccini, is set in a chapel of the church (the second act takes place in Palazzo Farnese and the third one in Castel Sant' Angelo).
Rainaldi decided to replace the volutes designed by Maderno to link the lower section of the fašade to the upper one with two statues of angels; when the first statue was placed on the fašade it was so criticized that Ercole Ferrata, its sculptor, refused to work on the other one.
An ancient statue known as Abate Luigi stands in the street to the left of the church; it is made up of the body of a statue portraying a senator or an emperor and of the too small head of another statue; together with Pasquino (which is not far away), Madama Lucrezia, il Babuino, il Facchino and Marforio, Abate Luigi voiced the views of the Romans on the papal government (click here to learn more about the Talking Statues of Rome).
You can see the fine ceiling of the church in a page covering the ceilings of many Roman churches, Cappella Rucellai and a monument by Domenico Guidi, a marble altarpiece by Antonio Raggi and a funerary monument also by Antonio Raggi in pages covering Baroque sculpture and the monument to Pope Pius II in the historical section.
Fountain from Borgo
In 1958 a fountain which previously was located in S. Giacomo in Scossacavalli was reconstructed in the square in front of S. Andrea della Valle. It is attributed to Carlo Maderno by contemporary writers, but according to other sources it was designed by Giovanni Vasanzio; it was famous for its high spouts, which instead today are kept to a minimum.
The palace was built ca 1520 for Cardinal Andrea della Valle (whose name is written at the top of some windows; he was bishop of Mileto, a town in southern Italy). Cardinal Della Valle had a large collection of ancient statues and reliefs which embellished his palace until 1584 when it was sold to Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici who utilized its contents to decorate his villa. The palace is slightly curved; it was enlarged in the XVIIth century and the main entrance was relocated; in the following century a storey was added; Vasari attributes the design of the palace to Lorenzo Lotti aka Lorenzetto, a friend of Raphael, but today there are doubts about Vasari's statement.
Similar to Palazzo Valle, Palazzo Caffarelli was built at the beginning of the XVIth century: the design of the ground floor (almost the only part not modified in the following centuries) was attributed to Raphael on the basis of the letters R. V. written on the fašade; they were interpreted as meaning Raphael Vrbinas (from Urbino), but today they are thought to be a reference to Cardinal Pietro Vidoni who enlarged and modified the building in the XIXth century. Art historians believe Lorenzetto was involved in the design of the palace, which was given a second fašade along Corso Vittorio Emanuele at the end of the XIXth century.
SS. Sudario de' Savojardi
The Duchy of Savoy was considered a minor state with little say in the Italian affairs. Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples were for centuries the main actors on the political scene. In the end, however, an heir of the Dukes of Savoy became the first King of Italy. The national church of the Savoyards was dedicated to the Holy Shroud (It. sudario or Santa Sindone), the main relic of that country (in Turin since 1578). The church was built in 1605, but the fašade was completed in 1687 by Carlo Rainaldi (click here for a list of national churches in Rome).
S. Giuliano dei Fiamminghi
Flemish merchants in Rome joined the brotherhood of St. Julian and built a small chapel and a hostel for pilgrims in the XIth century. At the end of the XVth century the two buildings were largely renovated; Emperor Charles V in 1536 became a member of the brotherhood when he visited Rome.
The church is dedicated to St. Julian the Hospitaller, a saint about whom many legends abound, who according to one of the many versions of his life was born in today's Belgium. The decoration of the church is based on lions, the heraldic symbol of the County of Flanders; the reference to the Flemish was lost in 1815, when Flanders became part of the Netherlands. After 1830 the chapel was called S. Giuliano dei Belgi, but in 1975 King Baudoin restored its original name (click here for a list of national churches in Rome).
S. Maria in Monterone
The church of S. Maria in Monterone (after the name of a family from Siena) is mentioned in very old documents; it was rebuilt in 1682. In 1728 it was assigned by Pope Benedict XIII to the Mercedarians, the members of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, who, similar to the Trinitiarians, had the objective of ransoming Christian slaves in Muslim countries. In Rome the order was represented by very few members and for this reason the convent adjoining the church is perhaps the smallest one in Rome; it was designed by Francesco Bianchi.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 7: Chiesa di S. Silvestro
Next step in Day 4 itinerary: Archiginnasio della Sapienza
Next step in Day 5 itinerary: Chiesa dell'Arciconfraternita delle Stimmate di S. Francesco
Next step in your tour of Rione Sant'Eustachio: SS. Benedetto e Scolastica.