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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in March 2010.


Chiesa di S. Maria della Traspontina (Book 7) (View C3) (Map C2)   (Day 8) (Rione Borgo)


In this page:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 Via della Conciliazione
 S. Maria in Traspontina and Oratorio per la Dottrina Cristiana
 Oratorio di S. Maria Annunziata

The Plate (No. 124)


In this etching Giuseppe Vasi showed on the left side the first house of Spina di Borgo, a group of buildings which divided Borgo Nuovo from Borgo Vecchio, the two streets which led to Piazza S. Pietro. In this way Vasi has left a visual memory of a fountain built by Carlo Maderno for Pope Paul V which was lost in 1849; it was similar to that in Piazza del Monte di PietÓ. The small map shown below shows that Vasi greatly twisted perspective laws in order to include the fountain in the view of S. Maria in Traspontina.
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) Entrance to the Oratory; 2) Palazzo Giraud (in Piazza Scossacavalli); 3) Street leading to Basilica Vaticana (Borgo Nuovo). The small map shows also 4) Oratorio di S. Maria Annunziata. 2) is shown in another page.


Today

The view in March 2010

The idea of opening a large street leading to Piazza S. Pietro was first debated during the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V who in 1586 relocated an obelisk at the centre of the square and in 1589 completed the dome of the basilica; in 1694 Carlo Fontana developed a project to pull down all the buildings between Piazza S. Pietro and Piazza Scossacavalli; other plans were developed in 1776, 1812 and 1850, but only in 1936 a project was eventually approved and financed; the first buildings were pulled down in that year, but, because of WWII, the new grand entrance to Piazza S. Pietro was completed in 1950 (the image used as background for this page shows the inscription celebrating the opening of the street).

Via della Conciliazione

Via della Conciliazione

The new street was named Via della Conciliazione, with a reference to the 1929 reconciliation between the Holy See and Italy after the 1870 events.
Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli redesigned the whole area between Castel Sant'Angelo and Piazza S. Pietro; imposing buildings replaced many modest houses, the inhabitants of which were moved to Garbatella, at the time a far away new development.
All the buildings along Borgo Nuovo were pulled down except for S. Maria della Traspontina and Palazzo Giraud (they are not perfectly aligned with the new street); the same occurred to the buildings along Borgo Vecchio except for Palazzo dei Penitenzieri and Palazzo Cesi; the architectonic elements of fašades which were deemed of artistic value were carefully dismantled and reconstructed on modern buildings; the main fountain of the neighbourhood was relocated to S. Andrea della Valle.


Small fountains which have been relocated: (left/centre) to Palazzo dei Penitenzieri; (right) to S. Alessio. They show the eagles and dragons of the Borghese family.

S. Maria in Traspontina

(left) S. Maria della Traspontina; (right) Oratorio della Dottrina Cristiana and bell tower of the church (in the background the walls of il Passetto

The church has a reference to Traspontina (beyond the bridge), rather than to Borgo, because when it was completed the neighbourhood was still part of Rione Ponte and also because in origin the church was located much nearer to Ponte degli Angeli. It was a medieval church with a portico; it housed two broken columns to which St. Peter and St. Paul were tied; because of its proximity to the river it was often damaged by floods. In 1564 Pope Pius IV decided to surround Castel Sant'Angelo with new walls and the church was pulled down. It was rebuilt along Borgo Nuovo, but the construction was completed only in 1668 (you may wish to see the church in a 1588 Guide to Rome, when the fašade by Sallustio Peruzzi and Ottavio Mascherino was already finished, but the dome and the transept were yet to be started).

(left-above) Detail of the church fašade and inscription above the entrance of the oratory; the inscription is based on Proverbs 19 - 27 "Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge"; (left-below) XVIth century decoration of the interior; (right) main altar by Carlo Fontana, a fine example of the use of coloured marbles

In 1714 Oratorio per la Dottrina Cristiana, a small oratory where children received their religious education was built to the left of the church: it was designed by Nicola Michetti.


Oratorio di S. Maria Annunziata

(left) Reconstructed fašade; (right) detail of the decoration

The small oratory of S. Maria Annunziata was built in 1746 by Pietro Passalacqua. It shows the influence of Borromini in the use of convex and concave lines and it reminds of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. The building was located in Borgo S. Spirito opposite the hospital by the same name. Because of the restructuring of the area the oratory was pulled down and rebuilt in a new location near Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, the modern bridge which links Borgo with the centre of Rome (you may wish to see it in a painting in the Vatican Library).

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:


Chiesa di s. Maria della Traspontina
Conserva questa chiesa il nome dell'antica, la quale per la sua picciolezza, e per essere poco dopo il passaggio del suddetto ponte, si disse Traspontina, e fu demolita per dare luogo alle fortificazioni e fossi intorno al divisato castello. Perci˛ Pio IV. nell'an. 1566. ordin˛, che si facesse una nuova chiesa, ma con magnificenza; e per˛ essendo coll'ajuto di molte persone pie, specialmente del Card. Alessandrino, terminata l'anno 1587. con disegno del Paparelli, e di Ottaviano Mascherini, Sisto V. le conferý il titolo Cardinalizio. Quei Religiosi con solenne processione dalla chiesa vecchia andarono alla nuova portando il santissimo Sagramento, una immagine della ss. Vergine, che avevano portata da Terrasanta, quando vennero in Roma, le colonne alle quali furono legati, e flagellati i ss. Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, ed un Crocifisso, con alcuni corpi santi, e reliquie. Fu dipoi la chiesa ornata con cappelle incrostate di marmi, e pitture non poche; la s. Barbera nella prima a destra Ŕ del Cav. d'Arpino, il s. Canuto nell'altra Ŕ di Mons¨ Daniele, la ss. Concezione nella terza Ŕ del Muziani, e le pitture nella quarta sono di Bernardino Gagliardi; il s. Alberto nella quinta Ŕ di Antonio Pomaranci, ed il quadro con s. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi nella crociata Ŕ di Domenico Perugino, il quale dipinse a fresco gli angoli nella cupola. L'altare maggiore ove si custodisce l'immagine della ss. Vergine, Ŕ ornato di marmi, sculture, e metalli dorati secondo il disegno del Cav. Carlo Fontana, e li due quadri grandi nel coro sono stati fatti ultimamente da Angelo Papi.
Il s. Andrea Corsini nell'altra cappella della crociata Ŕ di Gio: Paolo Melchiorri, e le pitture nella volta sono di Biagio Pucci. Il s. Ang. Carmelitano nell'altra, ed il resto delle pittture sono di Gio: Batista Ricci, e la s. Teresa nella cappella, che segue Ŕ di Giacinto Calandrucci Palermitano. Il quadro nella cappella, ove sono le colonne, a cui furono legati e flagellati i ss. Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, Ŕ del suddetto Ricci da Novara, il s. Elia nella penultima, di Antonio Gheraldi, e nell'ultima vi sono i corpi de ss. Basilide, Tripodio, e Magdalo martiri, e nella sagrestia fra l'altre reliquie si annovera il capo di s. Basilio Magno. Nell'oratorio contiguo evvi il quadro dell'altare dipinto da Luigi Garzi.

Next plate in Book 7: S. Martino ai Monti

Next step in Day 8 itinerary: S. Giacomo a Scossacavalli