All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in February 2010.
Chiesa e Spedale
di S. Giovanni di Dio (Book
C3) (Day 5) and (Day 6)
(View C9) (Rione Ripa) and
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Chiesa e Spedale di S. Giovanni di Dio (S. Giovanni Calibita)
S. Benedetto in Piscinula
Casa di Sir John Leslie
The Plate (No. 173)
The first book of etchings by Giuseppe Vasi was published in the early 1740s and it was dedicated to views of the river, but in 1758 when Vasi depicted Spedale di S. Giovanni di Dio his interest in landscape views had diminished and in this plate it is difficult to understand that the hospital is located on Isola Tiberina, although the view was taken from Ponte
Quattro Capi (green dot in the 1748 map below).
In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Ponte Quattro Capi;
2) Spedale di S. Giovanni di Dio o de' Bonfratelli (Fatebenefratelli);
3) Ponte Cestio;
4) Part of Trastevere; 5) Parts of the Monastery adjoining S. Bartolomeo all'Isola.
1), 3) and 5) are shown in other pages. The map shows also 6) S. Benedetto in Piscinula; 7) Casa di Sir John Leslie.
(left) The view in January 2010; (right) the view from Trastevere showing the changes made during the XIXth century
The side of Isola Tiberina near Ponte Quattro Capi was not impacted by the changes made at the end of the XIXth century to prevent floods, while the buildings near Ponte Cestio were pulled down to enlarge the river bed.
(left) View from the beginning of Ponte Quattro Capi (the image used as background for this page shows one of the two herms with four heads - Quattro Capi - after which the bridge is named); (right) inscription near S. Giovanni Calibita celebrating a restoration of the bridge by Pope Innocent XI
Spedale di S. Giovanni di Dio
(left) XVIIIth century fašade of the hospital (now housing a pharmacy); (right) S. Giovanni Calibita
The hospital is named after S. Giovanni di Dio (St. John of God), a XVIth century Portuguese friar who founded the order of the Brothers Hospitallers, who in Italy are better known as Fatebenefratelli (do-good-brothers). St. John of God is the patron saint of hospitals and nurses. The church is dedicated to S. Giovanni Calibita, a VIth century saint from Constantinople who lived as a hermit and then spent his last years in a hut (kalybe in Greek) near the mansion of his rich parents, but concealing his true identity. The church is decorated with paintings celebrating both saints.
Isola Tiberina was the site of a Temple to Aesculapius, god of Medicine, which was located on the site of S. Bartolomeo all'Isola, so the foundation of Spedale di S. Giovanni di Dio in the XVIth century was in line with an ancient tradition; the fašade of the hospital and of the church were modified in the XVIIIth century by Romano Carapecchia, an architect who is best known for the second part of his career in Malta where he is considered to be the most important baroque architect.
The hospital was entirely renovated in the 1930s and it is still managed by the Fatebenefratelli.
(left) S. Benedetto in Piscinula; (centre) XIVth century fresco in the former narthex of the church; (right) sacred image in Cappella della Vergine
According to tradition St. Benedict, the founder of western monasticism who lived as a hermit at Subiaco belonged to gens Anicia, an important family of the late Roman Empire whose houses were in Trastevere in the site where the church was built in the early XIIth century. S. Benedetto in Piscinula probably had an open narthex which was turned into an atrium in the XVIIIth century. The reference in Piscinula is uncertain, perhaps the fish market of S. Angelo in Pescheria was in origin located in this part of Trastevere or the church was near a hall of ancient baths (It. piscina means pool and It. pesce means fish). In 1844 the fašade was redesigned by Pietro Camporese: it is very similar to that of S. Pantaleo. The church retains one of the finest Cosmati floor of Rome.
Cosmati decoration of the floor
Casa di Sir John Leslie
(left) House of Sir John Leslie; (centre) coat of arms; (right) modern madonnella
The coat of arms of the owner of this finely restored old house near S. Benedetto in
Piscinula, would puzzle even an expert in genealogy and heraldry of the Roman families. The meaning of the
horses and the three buckles requires a visit to Castle Leslie - external link in
Ireland. The following is an excerpt from the owners' website:
"The Leslies can trace their ancestry back to Attila The Hun. Bartholomew Leslie was the chamberlain and protector of Margaret
Queen Of Scotland. It is through him that the family motto Grip Fast originated.
While fleeing enemies Queen Margaret rode pillion on the back of Bartholomew's horse.
When fording a river the queen fell off, Bartholomew threw her the end of his belt and told her to grip fast the buckle.
He saved the Queen's life & from that day forward she bestowed the motto Grip Fast on the Leslies.
The first Leslie to come to Ireland was Bishop John Leslie who was Bishop of the Isles of Scotland.
In 1665 Glaslough Castle and Demesne was sold by Sir Thomas Ridgeway to the Bishop of Clogher John Leslie.
... the poetic Sir Shane transferred the property to his eldest son John Norman Leslie who became the
4th Baronet. Owing to ill health from five years in a prisoner of war camp he made the estate over to his sister Anita and lived
the next 40 years in Rome until his return home to Castle Leslie in 1994 where he still lives."
Sir John Leslie embellished his Roman residence by adding a couple of modern madonnelle.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Chiesa di s. Giovanni Calibita, e spedale de' Benfratelli
Nel sito di questa chiesa aveva la sua casa il s. Titolare, la quale essendo poi convertita
in chiesa, da prima fu unita ad un monastero di monache; ma essendo queste trasferite
presso s. Anna de' Funari, fu questa con il convento conceduta ai religiosi spedalieri
di s. Giovanni di Dio, dati i Benfratelli, i quali vi eressero lo spedale per li
poveri civili e nobili. Quindi volendo nell'anno 1600. rinnovare la chiesa, trovarono
alcuni corpi di Santi, fra' quali quello del s. Titolare con altre reliquie e poi
nell'anno 1742. fu ornata di marmi, stucchi dorati, e pitture assai vaghe. Il quadro
sull' altare maggiore Ŕ di Andrea Generelli detto il Sabinese, e i laterali sono di
Corrado Giaquinto, il quale ha fatto tutte le pitture a fresco nella volta, ed anco
il quadro di s. Antonio nell'altare a destra. Nel convento evvi la nativitÓ del
Signore creduta opera di Raffaelle da Urbino.
Chiesa di s. Benedetto in Piscinula
Quanto antica e divota, altrettanto sguarnita, e mal ridotta Ŕ questa chiesa, sebbene sia parrocchiale.
Fu eretta nell'estremitÓ del palazzo della antichissima famiglia Anicia, in cui dimor˛ s. Benedetto mentre
era giovinetto, e vi Ŕ tradizione, che l'immagine della ss. Vergine, che si conserva in una cappelletta
posta nel piccolo portico di questa chiesa, sia quell'istessa, avanti alla quale il santo Giovinetto spesso
orava; perci˛ fu dipoi al medesimo s. Benedetto dedicata, la quale dall' antico nome della vicina
piazzetta, si dice in Piscivola.
Next plate in Book 9: Spedale
di S. Gallicano
Next step in Day 5 itinerary: Chiesa di S.
Next step in Day 6 itinerary: Chiesa di S.
S. Andrea dei Vascellari
You have completed your tour of Rione Ripa!