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.
Vestigie del Antico Ponte Trionfale (Book 5) (Map C2) (Day 7) (View D4) (Rione Ponte)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view (including S. Orsola della PietÓ)
S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
Palazzo del Consolato di Firenze and Renaissance buildings
Palazzo de Rossi
The Plate (No. 87)
At the time of the Roman Empire eight bridges crossed the Tiber: only three of them have survived (Ponte Milvio, Ponte S. Angelo and Ponte Quattro Capi). The ruins shown in the plate by Giuseppe Vasi belonged to Pons Triumphalis, a bridge which according to Vasi was so called because it was crossed by the Roman armies returning from a victorious campaign. More specifically it is now believed that the name was due to the 396 BC seizure of Veii by Marcus Furius Camillus; the road to that town (today's Isola Farnese) started after the bridge.
The view is taken from the green dot in the small 1748 map here below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) S. Giovanni de' Fiorentini; 2) Pillars of Ponte Trionfale; 3) Spedale de' Pazzi; 4) Palazzo Salviati; 5) S. Onofrio; 6) Villa Lante; 7) Villa Corsini; 8) Casino Farnese. 3), 4), 5), 6) and 8) are shown in detail in other pages. The small map shows also 9) Collegio Bandinelli/Palazzo del Consolato di Firenze and 10) Palazzo De Rossi.
Pons Triumphalis perhaps because of its location at a sharp bend of the river, was one of the first ancient bridges to collapse as early as the end of the IVth century; in summer the ruins of one of its pillars can still be seen between two modern bridges.
In the late XIXth century the river bed was enlarged and high walls were built on its banks in order to prevent floods; Spedale de' Pazzi on the right bank and many buildings near S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini were demolished. In 1888 the opening of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a new large road leading to the Vatican caused the pulling down of other buildings near S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini, including S. Orsola della PietÓ, a small XVIth century church which was used as an oratory by St. Philip Neri in the early phase of his preaching.
The view from Castel Sant'Angelo allows seeing Villa Lante and Palazzo Salviati, whereas S. Onofrio is hidden by trees, Villa Corsini (Casino Riario) was pulled down to make room for the 1895 Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi and Casino Farnese is too far away.
S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini
The area shown on the left side of the plate was the Little Florence of Rome (the image used as background for this page shows the fleur-de-lys which is the symbol of Florence). Here the Florentines opened branches of their banks (in Via dei Banchi Vecchi) or were involved in manufacturing and trading woollen cloth (the proximity to the river was necessary for some phases of the process); nearby they had their hospital, their church and their mill; the streets retain memories of their presence: Via Acciaioli (a famous Florentine family), Via delle Palle (a reference to the six balls, heraldic symbols of the Medici), Via dei Cimatori (those who combed the woven wool for imperfections).
The Florentines in Rome founded their brotherhood in 1448 and in 1488 they were given an existing church (S. Pantaleone) which owing to the opening of Via Giulia they were asked to partially demolish. Pope Leo X promoted the construction of a brand new church to be dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence (click here for a list of national churches in Rome). Jacopo Sansovino was asked to design the church, whilst Antonio da Sangallo the Younger was responsible for the walls needed to support the apse of the new building which ended right on the edge of the river. The construction was halted by political events in Rome and Florence; in 1543 Pope Paul III opened a new street which linked Ponte S. Angelo to the church which was still far from being completed.
The church was eventually completed between 1582 and 1614 by Giacomo della Porta (1582-98) and Carlo Maderno (1598-1614) who designed the dome. The fašade however was left unfinished and only in 1734 Pope Clement XII, the last pope from Florence and a man of great wealth, commissioned Alessandro Galilei its construction. Galilei had won in 1732 the competition for the new fašade of S. Giovanni in Laterano.
The Falconieri chapel (the main chapel) in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini is the last work by Francesco Borromini, who was buried in the church where his uncle Carlo Maderno was buried too. The Falconieri were an important Florentine family who lived in a nearby palace which Borromini modified for them.
The chapel was initially designed by Pietro da Cortona and after the changes made by Borromini it was completed by Ciro Ferri, a scholar of Pietro da Cortona. On the altar Antonio Raggi, the most "Berninian" scholar of Bernini, made use for his Battesimo di Ges¨ of the technique devised by Bernini in some chapels and consisting in a hidden window directing light towards some parts of the sculptures, with an effect common in paintings (Pietro da Cortona and Ciro Ferri were talented painters).
Via Giulia begins in the Florentine quarter of Rome. The first two buildings of the street were of great importance for the Florentine community: Collegio Bandinelli was an institution founded in 1617 by Bartolomeo Bandinelli, a rich baker, for the education of the poor. The palace was built many years later and the college started its actual activity in 1678; it was managed by Arciconfraternita della Misericordia, the main brotherhood of the Florentine community (more about it in S. Giovanni Decollato). Today the building is converted into flats but it retains an inscription celebrating the foundation of the college.
Palazzo del Consolato
The building adjoining Collegio Bandinelli was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger for his family; it was not his only property because his name is mentioned also in an inscription in nearby Palazzo Sacchetti. After the death of Sangallo in 1546 the building was sold to Migliore Cresci; he was married to Cornelia Strozzi, a member of a family who opposed the Medici. Migliore Cresci however preferred to support Cosimo I, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, by placing a flattering inscription above the entrance which says: To Cosmo Medici, second duke of Florence, lover of peace and justice; the fašade was painted with (lost) portraits of members of the Medici family. The palace was acquired by the Florentine government and for some time it housed the Consulate of Tuscany; the "Consulate" gave legal assistance to the Florentine merchants and bankers.
The Florentine quarter retains several interesting Renaissance houses; the wide spaces between the windows were decorated with graffiti paintings.
At the border of the Florentine quarter in Via dei Banchi Vecchi there was a very ancient hospice for the pilgrims of Bohemia: in 1457 it was renovated by H. Roraw, leader of the Bohemian community; an inscription celebrates Charles IV, King of Bohemia (1346-78) and Holy Roman Emperor (1355-78), who in 1368 came to Rome for the coronation of his fourth wife.
Palazzo De Rossi
Palazzo De Rossi was built in the XVIIth century and it was spared by the redesigning of the streets near S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini. However its ground floor with a very Florentine bugnato design is today at a level lower than that of the main street.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 5: Passo della Barchetta all'Armata
You have completed Day 7 itinerary! Move to Day 8.
Next step in your tour of Rione Ponte: Palazzo Sacchetti a Via Giulia