All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in October 2010.
Monte di Pietà
e banco pubblico (Book
C3) (Day 7) (View D8) (Rione Regola) and (Rione Parione)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi (S. Martino ai Pelamantelli)
Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ
Cappella della SS. TrinitÓ
Palazzo di Urbano VIII (SS. Teresa e Giovanni della Croce)
S. Salvatore in Campo
S. Barbara dei Librai
The Plate (No. 180)
J. W. Goethe arrived in Rome on November 1, 1786; his diary entry for November 27 contains a harsh statement on the level of crime in the city: All I can say about the Italians is this: they are children of Nature, who, for all the pomp and circumstance of their religion and art, are not a whit different from what they would be if they were still living in forests and caves. What strikes any foreigner are the murders which happen almost every day.
This 1759 etching by Giuseppe Vasi shows that Papal
authorities made some efforts to reduce crime by opening a "police station" outside Palazzetto Alibrandi near Monte di PietÓ, a charitable institution
from which people could borrow sums of money by pledging their valuables and where therefore there was a high risk of thefts and robberies being committed.
The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below.
In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) SS. Teresa e Giovanni della Croce; 2) Monastery, formerly the palace of Pope Urban VIII when he was a cardinal; 3) Building where once was the church of S. Martinello (S. Martino ai Pelamantelli).
The map shows also 4) Monte di PietÓ; 5) Cappella del Monte di PietÓ; 6) Palazzetto Alibrandi; 7) S. Salvatore in Campo; 8) S. Barbara dei Librai. The dotted line in the small map delineates
the borders among Rione Parione (upper section around No 8), Rione S. Eustachio (upper right quarter) and Rione Regola (the rest).
The view in June 2010: (left) Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ; (centre) Palazzo di Urbano VIII: (right) building which replaced that where S. Martino ai Pelamantelli was located
The etching by Vasi showed the square in a moment of transition because in that same year the monastery was sold to Monte di PietÓ, the church was closed and the building was modified to accommodate offices of the institution;
other changes occurred in the XXth century when the building was turned into a school.
(left) Left side of the fašade where a window was replaced by a portal; (right) right side with the original portal
Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ has been modified to a very limited extent; it now belongs to a major Italian bank which operates a branch in this building for lending on pledges.
Palazzo del Monte di PietÓ
(left) Relief portraying Jesus in the sepulchre between the coats of arms of Pope Clement VIII (left) and Pope Paul III; (right) clock
Monte is the Italian word for mountain, but it also indicated in the past an amount, so Monte di PietÓ (Mount of Pity) was a charitable
institution which lent money without charging interest with the objective of helping the poor. The first Monte di PietÓ was founded in Perugia in 1462; Monte dei Paschi di Siena was founded in 1472 with the same purpose and it is the oldest surviving bank in the world.
(left) Fountain with the heraldic symbols of Pope Paul V; (right) courtyard with another fountain
The Roman Monte di PietÓ was founded in 1539 and in 1603 it was moved to a palace which belonged to the Santacroce and which was designed by Ottavio Mascherino (the left section of the current building); Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, nephew of Pope Clement VIII commissioned Carlo Maderno the
enlargement of the palace. Monte di PietÓ lent sums on pledges, without demanding interest, but this term was applicable only to small amounts; on larger sums it charged five per cent.
During the enlargement of the building, the neighbourhood was supplied with water from Acqua Paola and Maderno designed
two fountains to distribute it. The palace was enlarged also on the rear where it faced SS. TrinitÓ dei Pellegrini; the image used as background for this page shows a monogram of Monte di PietÓ which decorates that part.
Shops buying gold (It. oro) and jewels and redeeming pledges
The square and the nearby streets house several businesses related to the activity of Monte di PietÓ; they directly buy gold, they offer additional cash for pawn tickets, they buy unredeemed objects at the weekly public auction and then sell them.
Those interested in old jewellery may find some interesting pieces.
Cappella della SS. TrinitÓ
(left) Bust of St. Charles Borromeo by Domenico Guidi in the vestibule; (right) ceiling with stucco decorations by Andrea Berrettoni, Giovanni Maria Galli, Filippo Ferrari and Michel Maille
Monte di PietÓ did not charge interest on small loans, but it made a profit in the sale of unredeemed objects;
this allowed the institution to build one of the most lavishly decorated chapels of Rome, although it was meant to be a celebration of Charity. The chapel was designed by Francesco Peparelli in 1639-41, but the decoration of its interior was completed over a period of almost a century by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi and Carlo Bizzaccheri.
(left) Charity by Giuseppe Mazzuoli; (right) main altar with a PietÓ by Domenico Guidi
Similar to S. Agnese in Agone the interior was not decorated with paintings,
but only with altar reliefs and statues. The chapel has no direct access from the street and it is open to the public on rare occasions.
Palazzo di Urbano VIII
(left/centre) Decorations of the interior with the heraldic symbols of the Barberini (three bees and the sun); (right) decoration of an outside pilaster
The palace was built ove a long period of time (1581-1644) by various members of the Barberini family, including Pope Urban VIII. Flaminio Ponzio, Carlo Maderno and Francesco Contini were among the architects involved in its design. In 1734 the Barberini sold it to the Discalced Carmelites, who turned the entrance into a church dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross,
the founders of their order; the church however was deconsecrated in 1759, when the building was sold to Monte di PietÓ; the palace had a nice loggia, which has been poorly enclosed and in general today its exterior is anything but interesting; the interior retains some rooms with the original decoration.
(left) Fašade; (right) courtyard
The small palace shown by Vasi on the left side of the view has a very interesting
courtyard where an open staircase leads to the various apartments. It is a design very unusual in Rome,
but largely utilized in northern Italy, especially for buildings with many small apartments.
S. Salvatore in Campo
(left) Piazza S. Salvatore in Campo during Michaelmas celebrations; (right) a Renaissance portal in Via degli Specchi (behind S. Salvatore in Campo)
In 1638 Pope Urban VIII allowed the administrators of Monte di PietÓ to enlarge the building by acquiring and pulling down an adjoining
block of houses, which included a small church dedicated to the Saviour. The administrators had the obligation to rebuild the church which they did in 1640 (design by Francesco Peparelli).
In recent times the high number of churches in the neighbourhood led to repeated closures of S. Salvatore with consequent deterioration of its interior and alteration of its external aspect (including
an apartment above the church). It is now assigned to the Eritrean Christians living in Rome. You may wish to see their celebration of Michaelmas.
S. Barbara dei Librai
(left) Largo dei Librai (on the right) Palazzo Ghetti; (right) fašade
In nearby Via dei Giubbonari (which leads to Campo dei Fiori) a small square opposite Palazzo di Urbano VIII houses
S. Barbara dei Librai and Palazzo Ghetti, two examples of minor baroque architecture. In the XVIIth century most booksellers (It. Librai) had their shops at
Piazza di Pasquino which was also known as Piazza dei Librai;
most likely the booksellers would have liked to be assigned S. Maria degli Agonizzanti, a church in that square, they instead bought in 1638 a small
medieval church dedicated to St. Barbara; the building was redesigned by Giuseppe Passeri in 1680; the booksellers maintained the dedication to St. Barbara, but in paintings inside the church she was portrayed with St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of booksellers (click here for a list of churches belonging to a guild).
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Monte della PietÓ
Per evitare le gravi usure, che facevano gli Ebrei sopra i pegni de' Cristiani, e per dare sollievo ai bisognosi,
fu eretta nell'an. 1539. a persuasione del P. Gio. Calvo Generale de' frati Conventuali, una confraternita
di persone facoltose, le quali sborsando una certa somma di danaro formarono un monte, affinchŔ si
prestasse ai poveri quella somma, che comportassero i pegni, che loro offerissero senza prendere
verun interesse. Essendo questa confraternita, e opera pia approvata da Paolo III. ed essendone
poi protettore s. Carlo Borromeo nŔ form˛ li statuti. Sisto V. le concedŔ per residenza un palazzo nella
strada de' Coronari, e Clemente VIII. considerando l'angustia di quello, trasportolla quivi l'an. 1604.
concedendole varj privilegi, ed esenzioni. Quindi a poco a poco il monte Ŕ cresciuto a tal segno, che
Ŕ giunto ad occupare tutta l'isola, ed ora ha passato ad abbracciare il palazzo giÓ abitato da
Urbano VIII. mentre era Cardinale, e vi Ŕ stato collocato il banco de' depositi.
╚ ammirabile in questo monte di PietÓ la cappella eretta per comodo degli ufiziali del Monte, e del Banco,
ornata tutta di marmi mischi e sculture riguardevoli. Il bassorilievo sull'altare Ŕ di Domen. Guidi, quello
a destra, della scuola di Mons¨ Legros, quello a sinistra di Mons¨ Teodone; la statua della CaritÓ Ŕ del
Mazzoli, l'Elemosina del Cametti, la Speranza del Cornacchini, e la Fede del Moderati.
Nella piazzetta a destra del Monte evvi la piccola chiesa di s. Salvatore in Campo
edificata l'anno 1639. per conservare la memoria dell'antica, che fu arretrata per la fabbrica del medesimo
Monte, essendo parrocchiale e spettante alla badia di Farfa.
Chiesa di s. Barbera
Fin dall' anno 1306. si trova essere stata consagrata questa piccola chiesa, se per fondazione o
ristaurazione non si sa. Leone X. le dette il titolo Cardinalizio: ma Sisto V. glie lo tolse, e
Clemente VIII. levandole la cura delle anime, la concesse ai Preti della Missione. Finalmente
poi essendo nel 1600. conceduta alla confraternita de' Librari, questi avendola riattata, vi
aggiunsero il titolo di s. Tommaso di Aquino, e di s. Giovanni di Dio loro protettori, e poi nel
Pontificato di Innocenzo XI. la rinovarono a spese di Zanobi Masotti libraro Fiorentino. La statua
della santa Titolare, che sta sopra la porta Ŕ scultura di Ambrogio Parisj, e l'Angelo dipinto sul muro
accanto Ŕ nobile scherzo di Guido Reni; nella chiesa poi vi sono pitture di Luigi Garzi, e di altri moderni.
You have completed Book 9! Move to Book 10 - plate 181 - Giardino e Casino Pontificio del Belvedere
Next plate in Day 7 itinerary: Chiesa e Convento
di S. Paolo alla Regola
Next step in your tour of Rione Regola: Ospizio della TrinitÓ dei Pellegrini
You have completed your tour of Rione Parione!