All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in September 2010.
Seminario Romano (Book 9) (Day 1) and (Day 4) (View C7) (Rione Colonna) and (Rione Pigna)
In this etching Giuseppe Vasi gave rather more relevance to Dominican Monastero della Minerva than to Seminario Romano which belonged to the Jesuits and which was almost an appendage to their nearby Collegio Romano; he probably did so also because the street where Seminario Romano is located is very narrow and it does not allow a proper view of the building. Jesuits and Dominicans belonged to orders having great influence on the decisions of the popes; they apparently cooperated,
but they also competed for expanding their power; in 1759 when Vasi published this etching the Jesuits had a major role in the education of new priests, but Seminario Romano was closed in 1772 and the order was suppressed in the following year by Pope Clement XIV.
The section of the Dominican Monastery shown in the plate was confiscated after the 1870 annexation of Rome to the Kingdom of Italy; it has been slightly modified to adapt it to the various state bodies to which it was assigned; the other buildings shown in the plate have not been modified and the street leading to Piazza della Rotonda is as narrow as it was at Vasi's time.
The institution of a seminary for the education of priests was promoted by Pope Pius IV and by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, his nephew; the institution was housed in several buildings until in 1607 it was moved to an existing palace belonging to the Gabrielli family; the location was very convenient because students attended lessons at Collegio Romano. In 1824 Pope Leo XII assigned the building to the reconstituted Jesuit Order to which it still belongs; it is now known as Casa di S. Roberto Bellarmino, a Jesuit cardinal who played a major role in the trial of Giordano Bruno, a Dominican monk.
Macuto is the Italian name for St. Malo, a VIth century saint from Wales who founded a monastic settlement on the northern coast of Brittany which eventually became the town of Saint-Malo. In 1539 the small medieval church dedicated to St. Malo was assigned to the brotherhood of the inhabitants of Bergamo, a town in northern Italy; it was then dedicated to Bartholomew and Alexander, the patron saints of Bergamo; the church was rebuilt in the second half of the XVIth century (you may wish to see it in a 1588 Guide to Rome); in 1726 the brotherhood was assigned another church in Piazza Colonna and the original dedication was restored by the Jesuits who used the building as the oratory for the nearby seminary; the façade of the church is embellished with small obelisks in memory of the obelisks found in this area, where Iseo Campense, a Temple to Isis, the Egyptian goddess, was located.
This section of the Dominican monastery is now known as Palazzo S. Macuto and it houses offices of the Italian Camera dei Deputati, the Lower House of the Italian Parliament; it was built in 1641 by Paolo Maruscelli at the expense of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Protector of the Dominican Order.
The palace was built in 1585 by Giacomo Della Porta for Ottaviano di Francesco Crescenzi. In 1641 it was inherited by Francesco Serlupi who added to his surname that of the Crescenzi: the palace is thus called Serlupi Crescenzi.
The palace is decorated with the crescent moon of the Crescenzi while later additions (such as the richly decorated sacred image shown above and in the image used as background for this page) show also the heraldic symbol of the Serlupi (who had a palace in Piazza di S. Maria in Campitelli).
Palazzo Serlupi has an inscription
forbidding "il mondezzaro" (the accumulation of garbage) below the windows of the building. The papal
government was worried about the appearance and the cleanliness of the streets of Rome and several
regulations were issued in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries; they established responsibilities, fines and corporal punishment.
Next plate in Book 9: Seminario di S. Pietro in Vaticano
Next step in Day 1 itinerary: Chiesa di S. Marcello
Next step in Day 4 itinerary: Piazza della Rotonda
Next step in your tour of Rione Pigna: Sant'Ignazio
Next step in your tour of Rione Colonna: San Silvestro in Capite