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Page revised in December 2009.
Chiesa di S. Carlo ai Catinari (Book 7) (Map C3) (Day 7) (View C8) (Rione Sant'Eustachio), (Rione Sant'Angelo) and (Rione Regola)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view (S. Anna dei Falegnami/S. Elena dei Credenzieri)
S. Carlo ai Catinari
"Giustizia" (Justice) by il Domenichino
Cappella di S. Cecilia
Casa di Alessandro Lancia
Chiesa di Ges¨ Nazzareno o dei Santi Cosma e Damiano dei Barbieri and Palazzo Cavallerini
The Plate (No. 136)
This corner of XVIIIth century Rome was characterized by the presence of small workshops which were grouped together according to their trade; so the street in the foreground with the two carriages was named after the giubbonari (jacket makers), that leading to Palazzo Mattei after the falegnami (carpenters/joiners) and that at the right end of the etching after the catinari, makers of low terracotta basins, one of whom is shown at work in the lower left corner of the plate. A reference to this trade was added to the name of the imposing church dedicated to S. Carlo Borromeo to distinguish it from S. Carlo al Corso and S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane which were built at a slightly later time.
The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) S. Carlo ai Catinari; 2) Monastero delle Monache di S. Anna; 3) Strada dei falegnami (joiners/carpenters); 4) Street leading to Piazza Giudia; 5) Palazzo Mattei. 5) is shown in another page. The small map shows also 6) Palazzo Santacroce; 7) Casa di Alessandro Lancia; 8) Chiesa di Ges¨ Nazzareno o dei Santi Cosma e Damiano dei Barbieri; 9) Palazzo Boccapaduli; 10) Palazzo Cavallerini; a red asterisk indicates S. Anna dei Falegnami and a blue asterisk S. Elena dei Credenzieri. The dotted line in the small map delineates the borders among Rione Sant'Eustachio (top left quarter), Rione Pigna (top right quarter), Rione Regola (lower left quarter) and Rione Sant'Angelo (lower right quarter).
In 1887-88 Via Arenula, a large street, was opened to link the centre of Rome with Trastevere; Monastero di S. Anna and its church were pulled down and also S. Elena dei Credenzieri which stood behind them was demolished; this small church belonged to the guilds of the stewards/high level servants of cardinals and noble families.
The names of two existing streets (Via di S. Anna and Via di S. Elena) help in understanding where the churches were located.
S. Carlo ai Catinari
S. Carlo ai Catinari was built by the Barnabites, a religious order named after the church of S. Barnaba in Milan, where its first members used to meet; the Barnabites as many other orders founded in the XVIth century advocated a more severe lifestyle; for this they faced suspicion of heresy; Cardinal Carlo Borromeo protected them and in 1579 he contributed to the definition of rules which, while keeping to the initial aim of the order, were in line with the teachings of the Roman Church.
In Rome the Barnabites were assigned S. Biagio dell'Anello, a small church on the site of today's S. Carlo ai Catinari; the new church was founded in 1611 and because Cardinal Borromeo had been canonized in the previous year it was dedicated to him. By 1620 the church was completed with the exception of the decoration of the fašade and of the apse. It has a Greek cross shape with short arms so that the dome is clearly visible from the street (the original design of S. Pietro).
The completion of the church was halted for a few years by a lack of financial resources; this situation was modified in 1627 by a bequest from Cardinal Giovan Battista Leni; the fašade was designed in 1636-38 by Giovan Battista Soria and the interior was lavishly decorated with paintings and marbles.
Giustizia by il Domenichino
Domenico Zampieri, nicknamed il Domenichino for his small stature, was one of the leading painters of the early XVIIth century; his fame declined in the XIXth century, but until then travellers to Rome did not forego seeing his large frescoes in S. Andrea della Valle. The pendentives he painted in S. Carlo ai Catinari are one of his last Roman works; in the portrait of Justice he departed from the traditional iconography which depicted Justice as a blindfolded woman (a relatively easy task for him) and he showed his talent by painting the absent look of a blind woman.
Cappella di S. Cecilia
Antonio Gherardi (1644-1702) was a painter who acquired a great reputation for his frescoes in the ceiling of S. Maria in Trivio. In 1695 he was commissioned the design and decoration of a chapel dedicated to S. Cecilia, patron saint of the musicians. While his large painting above the altar is rather academic, the architecture and the stuccoes decorating the vault of the chapel are an excellent addition to the chapels designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini a few years earlier.
The plate shows to the far right the street leading to Piazza Giudia. The second building in this street is the old Palazzo Santacroce (a larger Palazzo Santacroce is opposite S. Carlo ai Catinari); its decoration, which reminds of Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara (it opens in another window)) is unique in Rome. The two palaces were built at the same time towards the end of the XVth century. The Santacroce were the patrons of nearby S. Maria in Publicolis.
Casa di Alessandro Lancia
The street leading from S. Carlo ai Catinari to the small church of S. Salvatore in Campo is very narrow and the unaware passer-by may fail to notice what is left of the painted fašade of a Renaissance house. Here lived Alessandro Lancia who held several positions in the Papal court at the time of Pope Paul III (1534-49). He paid homage to his master by having painted on his house the coat of arms of that pope (six fleurs-de-lis).
Chiesa di Ges¨ Nazzareno o dei SS. Cosma e Damiano dei Barbieri and Palazzo Cavallerini
In 1560 the barbers' guild was assigned a small church dedicated to SS. TrinitÓ. The barbers renamed the church which was dedicated to SS. Cosma e Damiano (two saints of the IVth century from Aegea, medieval Laiazzo and today's Yumurtalik, who had healing powers). In 1722-24 the church was almost completely rebuilt (the architect is unknown). It continued to belong to the guild until 1870; in 1888 it was assigned to Confraternita (brotherhood) di Ges¨ Nazzareno and it was renamed. For a list of the churches belonging to a guild click here.
A large palace opposite the church is currently poorly maintained; a glance through the big portal reveals in the darkness a coat of arms of Pope Clement X Altieri (1670-76), who was the ruling pope when Cardinal Giovan Giacomo Cavallerini built this palace, still named after him.
In 1555 Pope Paul IV issued a decree which forced the Jews living in the Papal States to move their residence to a restricted area (ghetto) either in Rome or in Ancona. The southern part of Rione Sant'Angelo, the area selected for the Roman ghetto had a mixed population, both from a religious and a social viewpoint. The Boccapaduli, a very ancient Roman family, left their home which was located in the ghetto and they bought a palace immediately outside it in Via de' Falegnami. The palace was subsequently enlarged and what we see now is mainly an XVIIIth century building.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 7: S. Maria in Vallicella
Next step in Day 7 itinerary: Palazzo Pio
You have completed your tour of Rione Sant'Angelo!
You have completed your tour of Rione Regola!
Start your tour of Rione Sant'Eustachio; next step: S. Maria in Publicolis.