All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in April 2009.
Chiesa e Conservatorio di S. Pasquale di Baijlon (Book 8) (Map C3) (Day 6) (View C10) (Rione Trastevere)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view (S. Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi)
S. Maria dell'Orto
S. Salvatore della Corte
Spedale di S. Maria dell'Orto and Arco de' Tolomei
The Plate (No. 160)
The last plate of Book 8 does not represent a nunnery, but a house aimed at protecting young women (fanciulle) from the dangers (pericoli) of life in Rome, including those who had experienced these dangers and were seeking redemption. The building was completed in 1747 and it was dedicated to S. Pasquale di Baijlon. St. Paschal Baylon (1540-92) was a Spanish Franciscan friar known for his many ecstatic visions. In Italy, most likely because his surname (It. Bailonne) rhymed with donne (women), he was the object of a particular devotion by women in search of a husband.
The plate shows also the church of S. Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi (inhabitants of Genoa - the background of this page is based on the decoration of a window and it shows the coat of arms of that city - click here for a list of national churches in Rome).
The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Conservatorio di S. Pasquale; 2) S. Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi; 3) S. Maria dell'Orto; 4) Part of S. Cecilia. 4) is shown in another page. The small map shows also 5) S. Salvatore della Corte; 6) Spedale di S. Maria dell'Orto; 7) Arco de' Tolomei.
S. Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi and the adjoining monastery were widely modified during the XIXth century (only the three windows close to the church have retained their original design). In 1576 Pope Gregory XIII granted to the Genoese brotherhood in Rome the right to free once a year a convict condemned to death, a privilege which was already enjoyed by the Florentines of S. Giovanni Decollato.
The house for women is still belonging to a religious institution and the building, notwithstanding some alterations retains its original appearance, at least in the ground floor.
It is difficult to include in the same image all the buildings shown in the plate because Vasi took his view from the northern side of the square; in order to show S. Cecilia with a proper light it was necessary to take an additional photo in the afternoon.
S. Maria dell'Orto is today hidden by modern buildings, but also at Vasi's time only its tip was visible.
S. Maria dell'Orto
S. Maria dell'Orto (orto=kitchen garden) is the church of the fruit and vegetable sellers' guild. It was built during the XVIth century; several architects are thought to have contributed to its design (Guidetti, Vignola, Francesco da Volterra). Click here for a list of churches belonging to a guild.
You may wish to see the church in a 1588 Guide to Rome.
The interior is lavishly decorated, thus confirming that fruit and vegetable sellers make quite a good income; the brotherhood includes the pizzicaroli (grocers); it owned many properties: tablets with the image of the brotherhood can be seen on many houses of Rome.
On Holy Thursdays the only remaining Macchina delle Quarant'Ore is lighted (see the ceremony).
S. Salvatore della Corte
S. Salvatore della Corte is today known as S. Maria della Luce. It was a very old church which was entirely renovated in 1730; the modest façade hides an interesting interior by Gabriele Valvassori, the architect of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj a Via Larga. The decision to renovate the church and to change its name was linked to a miraculous image; one of the explanations of the reference to luce (light) is that a blind man, while standing in front of the painting, regained his sight and cried luce, luce.
Spedale di S. Maria dell'Orto
The guild owning S. Maria dell'Orto had also a small hospital next to it. The façade of the building was redesigned in 1739 by Gabriele Valvassori, but the fresco above the entrance was so poorly painted that already when Vasi wrote his guide of Rome in 1761 it was almost invisible.
Arco de' Tolomei is a medieval arch named after the nearby Roman house of the Tolomei. The Tolomei family (from Siena, maybe you wish to see their palace) is known for Pia de' Tolomei who implored Dante not to forget her (translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).
At the beginning of the street leading to S. Salvatore in Corte there is a madonnella showing a large tree, most likely an elm which stood in the area and after which two nearby streets were named.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page: