All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in May 2010.
Chiesa e Monastero della Purificazione (Book 8) (Day 2) (Map A3) (View B8) (Rione Monti)
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The south-western section of the Esquiline hill was called Fagutal by the ancient Romans because it was covered by a wood of beech trees (Lat. Fagus); in the XVIIIth century it still retained an almost rural appearance as the etching by Giuseppe Vasi shows. A small ravine where the nunnery of S. Lucia in Selci was located separated Fagutal from Cispius, the highest peak of the Esquiline. This page covers also other minor churches on the Fagutal.
In 1810 the nunnery of S. Maria della Purificazione was confiscated by the French authorities and it was used as a barracks for their troops; later on the property was sold and modified; eventually in ca. 1900 it was acquired by Canonici Regolari Lateranensi, a religious congregation based in nearby S. Pietro in Vincoli. Later on the new owners turned the building into a college (Collegio San Vittore dei Canonici Lateranensi); at that time the church was in ruins and it was replaced by the library of the college which incorporated the lower part of the fašade; a symbol of the congregation was placed above the former entrance.
Mario Ferro Orsini was born on Candlemas (February 2) in 1511; in the will he made in 1588 he left a significant amount of money for the construction of a nunnery and a church dedicated to the Purification of Virgin Mary, which is celebrated on Candlemas; the feast is also named after the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
The construction of the new buildings was completed by the year 1600 and the nunnery was assigned to the Poor Clares who resided there until the French confiscation.
In the early XVIIIth century an ancient underground chapel was found in the garden of the nunnery; it was dedicated to the Saviour owing to traces of a fresco portraying Jesus in the act of blessing. Today the level of the ground is higher than at Vasi's time and what is left of the chapel is almost entirely buried and access to it is dangerous.
The remaining section of Via delle Sette Sale (named after the cisterns of Terme di Traiano) can be included among the silent streets of Rome, small havens in the heart of the big city where time has stopped.
Medieval directories of Roman churches recorded a S. Andrea del Portogallo in this part of Fagutal; the reference to Portogallo had nothing to do with Portugal, but rather with events related to the Gauls and Marcus Furius Camillus which occurred near the location of the church. In 1606 it was assigned to UniversitÓ dei Rigattieri, the guild of the junk dealers, who dedicated it also to S. Bernardino, their patron saint and who decided to rebuild the church. As a matter of fact it was only in the 1720s that the new church was consecrated; there is uncertainty about the architect who designed its fašade (Giuseppe Sardi or Carlo Fontana).
A church dedicated to S. Pantaleone is recorded in the XIIth century documents; in the late XVIth century it was also dedicated to S. Biagio, after the pulling down of a nearby church dedicated to him. In 1753 the small church was assigned to Arciconfraternita della Beatissima Vergine del Buon Consiglio, a brotherhood devoted to the veneration of a sacred image of the Virgin Mary kept in Genazzano and its name was changed.
Romanoque foro et lautis mugire Carinis.
Virgil - Aeneid - Book 8 - 360-61
A quotation by Virgil indicates that the first slope of the Esquiline hill to the north of the Roman Forum was called Carinis by the ancient Romans; carina means underbody of a boat and carinis could have been a reference to the shape of the slope or to objects such as big stones or roofs resembling the underbody of a boat. The name of the neighbourhood was used to identify a small friary which housed between 1780 and 1805 the Cistercians of S. Bernardo alle Terme. An inscription above a door retains the name of the church.
The neighbourhood has some interesting XVIth century houses.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page: