Visit Rome following 8 XVIIIth century itineraries XVIIIth century Rome in the 10 Books of Giuseppe Vasi - Le Magnificenze di Roma Antica e Moderna The Grand View of Rome by G. Vasi The Environs of Rome: Frascati, Tivoli, Albano and other small towns near Rome A 1781 map of Rome by G. Vasi An 1852 map of Rome by P. Letarouilly Rome seen by a 1905 armchair traveller in the paintings by Alberto Pisa The 14 historical districts of Rome An abridged history of Rome How to spend a peaceful day in Rome Baroque sculptors and their works The coats of arms of the popes in the monuments of Rome Pages on a specific pope Pages complementing the itineraries and the views by Giuseppe Vasi Walks in the Roman countryside and in other towns of Latium following Ferdinand Gregorovius A Directory of links to the Churches of Rome A Directory of links to the Palaces and Villas of Rome A Directory of links to the Other Monuments of Rome A Directory of Baroque Architects with links to their works A Directory of links to Monuments of Ancient Rome A Directory of links to Monuments of Medieval Rome A Directory of links to Monuments of Renaissance A Directory of links to Monuments of the Late Renaissance A list of the most noteworthy Roman Families Directories of fountains, obelisks, museums, etc. Books and guides used for developing this web site An illustrated Glossary of Art Terms Venice and the Levant Roman recollections in Florence A list of Italian towns shown in this web site Venetian Fortresses in Greece Vienna seen by an Italian XVIIIth century traveller A list of foreign towns shown in this web site
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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 June 2009.

Piazza Giudia (Book 2) (Map C3) (Day 7) (View C8) (Rione Sant'Angelo), (Rione Regola) and (Rione Sant'Eustachio)

In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view
The house of Lorenzo Manilio
The fountain
Via della Reginella (Jewish Ghetto)
Tempietto del Carmelo
Monte de' Cenci and S. Tommaso ai Cenci
Palazzetto Cenci and other Cenci buildings
S. Maria del Pianto
S. Maria in Publicolis
S. Maria in Cacaberis (S. Maria dei Calderari)

The Plate (No. 29)

Piazza Giudia

In this plate Vasi shows the square named after the Jews (Ebrei is the usual Italian word, whereas Giudei has a derogatory innuendo) who lived in the area. They started to live here during the XIIIth century, whereas before they mainly lived in Ripa Romea on the other bank of the Tiber. In 1556 Pope Paul IV forced them to live inside a walled enclosure (Ghetto) between Via di Pescaria and the river (see the gate on the right). The small building at the centre of the square was a police station from which the papal guards checked that the Jews complied with the regulations which disciplined their lives. According to the Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum, Jewish men had to wear a yellow bonnet and their women had to cover their heads with a yellow scarf; this last imposition was particularly insulting because prostitutes had to wear a similar scarf.
The view is taken from the green dot in the map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Portone (gate) del Ghetto degli Ebrei; 2) the gallows; 3) Casamento con iscrizione antica (house with an ancient inscription, i.e. Casa di Lorenzo Manilio); 4) Strada di Pescaria; 5) S. Maria del Pianto. The small 1748 map shows also 6) S. Maria in Publicolis; 7) S. Maria in Cacaberis; 8) Palazzo Cenci; 9) Palazzetto Cenci; 10) Via della Reginella. The dotted line in the small map delineates the borders between Rione Sant'Eustachio (top), Rione Regola (left) and Rione Sant'Angelo (right).

Small ViewSmall Map


The Square today
The view in June 2009 (white stones indicate the location of the fountain; in the background Portico d'Ottavia)

The old Ghetto does not exist any longer although the area is still a meeting point for Roman Jews; there are several kosher groceries and restaurants and the large building to the right houses the Jewish schools. In the distance one can see Portico d'Ottavia (or Piazza di Pescaria as it was called in the XVIIIth century). The street which led there was very narrow (No 4 in the plate).

The House of Lorenzo Manilio

The House of Lorenzo Manilio
The main inscription (in three stripes) and the name of Lorenzo Manilio written in Greek (inscription on one of the doors)

Vasi described the inscription on a group of houses as antica (ancient), but he should have called it modern because it dates back to 1468. The text was dictated by Lorenzo Manilio, the owner of the houses, to express his admiration for Ancient Rome:
Broad translation: While Rome is returning to its original shape/glory, Lorenzo Manilio built this house in the Jewish quarter as a token of love for his city and within the limit of his modest means. This house for him and his heirs was begun on the eleventh day before the beginning of August in the year 2221 (this date is calculated from the foundation of Rome in 753 BC which would be 1468 AD) when Lorenzo was aged 50 years, 3 months and two days.
We do not know much more about Lorenzo Manilio, apart from what he wrote in the inscription; his name is repeated above the doors of the ground floor (in one case in Greek). The inscription is interesting for many reasons: the use of the word Renascente to indicate the return of Rome to its original splendour, the mastery of the ancient Roman inscriptions (proportions, abbreviations, use of V instead of U) and the omission of all references to Christianity (no mention of the ruling pope, use of the Roman calendar). In my page on the windows of Italy you can see the detail of one of the windows of this house.

The House of Lorenzo Manilio
Ancient reliefs (left to right): part of a sarcophagus, a Greek funerary monument, inscription (above) and funerary monument (below) from Via Appia

Lorenzo Manilio decorated his property with fragments of ancient reliefs; for this and for the inscription his house can be regarded as one of the first examples of that all'antico mode which characterized many Renaissance and Late Renaissance buildings of Rome.

The Fountain

The Fountain
(left) Fountain; (right-above) detail of the upper basin; (right-below) coat of arms of Tarquinio Iacovacci

The fountain in the plate (by Giacomo della Porta) is now in a nearby square (Piazza delle Cinque Scuole, named after the five different rabbinical schools which existed in the Ghetto). The construction of a large fountain in the vicinity of the Ghetto is an indication of the different approaches of the popes towards the Jews; some of them were more lenient than others; the fountain does not bear the coat of arms of a pope, but those of the four Conservatori who were in charge in 1593. Conservatori were magistrates who assisted in the administration of Rome; they had their meetings in one of the palaces of Campidoglio.

Via della Reginella

Via della Reginella
(left) Via della Reginella and the closed entrance of Palazzo Costaguti; (right-above) one of the tall houses built in Via Reginella; (right below) tablet indicating a house which belonged to Spedale del Salvatore (or di S. Giovanni) and which was acquired by a Jewish institution

In 1798 the French opened the gates of the Ghetto, but the return of the papal government after the Napoleonic era closed them again. This decision was criticized by many European governments and due to their pressure in 1823 Pope Leo XII added Via della Reginella, a street leading to Piazza delle Tartarughe to the area of the Ghetto. The Costaguti closed the entrance to their palace from Via della Reginella and properties belonging to Christian brotherhoods were sold to Jewish institutions. The street is the only surviving part of the old quarter. Some relatively tall houses are an indication that the Ghetto was overcrowded (this also occurred in the Ghetto of Venice).

Tempietto del Carmelo

Tempietto del Carmelo
(left) The location of Tempietto del Carmelo between Casa di Lorenzo Manilio and the rear side of Palazzo Costaguti; (right) Tempietto del Carmelo

"She warned him that he must next pass the Island of the Sirens, whose beautiful voices enchanted all who sailed near. ... 'Plug your men's ears with bees-wax' advised Circe" (Robert Graves - The Greek Myths). It is said that the Jews followed Circe's advice when they were forced to listen to sermons delivered from within this XVIIIth century chapel attached to the house of Lorenzo Manilio.
The chapel was deconsecrated and used as a shop window for many years. It has been restored and bequeathed to the Roman Jewish Community.

Monte de' Cenci

Palazzo Cenci
(left) Oldest part of Palazzo Cenci; (right) S. Tommaso ai Cenci

Monte de' Cenci is a small artificial hill derived from the ruins of the theatre of Cornelius Balbus. Here, first the Crescenzi, then the Cenci built their fortified houses, some of which were modified in the XVIIIth and XIXth century. In 1575 the Cenci restored and turned into their family chapel an old church which was surrounded by their properties.
The name of the Cenci is associated with Beatrice Cenci, a young woman who instigated the murder of her father Francesco, a brute. Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini showed no mercy. She was put to death in Piazza del Ponte on September 11, 1599. Piazza del Ponte is the small square in front of Ponte S. Angelo: a little chapel (now lost) was used for providing religious help to the condemned. Beatrice was killed along with her stepmother and two brothers. Only the youngest brother was spared, but he had to attend the executions. A presumed portrait of Beatrice by Guido Reni inspired many writers and poets, including Stendhal and Shelley (you may see it in an external link).
The vast possessions of the Cenci were confiscated and fell into the hands of the Aldobrandini. Years later the last of the Cenci took legal action and in 1699, 100 years after the death of Beatrice, the Cenci regained a large part of their possessions.

Palazzetto Cenci

Palazzetto Cenci
Palazzetto Cenci and to its right Arco dei Cenci

The Cenci built a small palace near Monte de' Cenci which was linked to the main one by an arch. Palazzetto Cenci has a neat Renaissance design by Martino Longhi il Vecchio. In the courtyard there is an interesting loggia with a design (serliana) mainly used for windows.

Palazzetto Cenci
(left) Courtyard of Palazzetto Cenci; (centre) decoration of the entrance of a palace near Arco dei Cenci; (right) window with a baroque frame opposite Palazzetto Cenci

S. Maria del Pianto

S. Maria del pianto
(left) S. Maria del Pianto; (right) detail of the dome and of the bell tower

With the creation of the Ghetto some churches inside it were demolished while others were built in the proximity of its gates. S. Maria del Pianto (weep) owes its name to a sacred image which wept when a young man was assassinated in front of it. In 1608 it was decided to build a church to properly keep this image, but work came to a halt in 1612 and notwithstanding later attempts to complete the building it still lacks the main nave and the fašade.

S. Maria in Publicolis

S. Maria in Publicolis
(left) S. Maria in Publicolis; (right-above) detail of the decoration showing a pelican, heraldic symbol of the Santacroce; (right-below) another detail of the decoration

S. Maria in Publicolis is a small church built near their palace by the Santacroce, who claimed to descend from Publio Valerio Publicola, a Roman consul who in 509 BC promulgated laws in favour of the lower classes. You may wish to see the Monument to Marquis Antonio Publicola Santacroce and his wife Girolama Nari by Lorenzo Ottoni inside the church. The elegant fašade was designed by Giovanni Antonio de' Rossi in 1643.

S. Maria in Cacaberis

S. maria in Cacaberis
1) Ancient portico; 2) tablet with the name of the old church; 3) detail of a Renaissance portal in Via S. Maria dei Calderari; 4) relief of a sarcophagus portraying Hercules; 5) funerary monument

S. Maria in Cacaberis (the corrupted name of a Roman copper vase) (also known as S. Maria dei Calderari) is a church pulled down in 1881. Its portico made use of structures of an ancient Roman building, which has not yet been identified. The name of a short street departing from Via Arenula is the only remaining reference to the church (calderari = makers of cauldrons).

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Chiesa di s. Maria in Cacaberis
Varie sono l'interpetrazioni del nome di questa antica e piccola chiesa prima dedicata a s. Biagio, e varj sono ancora i ragionamenti, che si fanno dagli Antiquarj sopra il residuo del portico, che si vede appoggiato alla medesima, costruito tutto di travertino, ma di rozza architettura: viene per˛ creduto essere parte del portico fatto da Gneo Ottavio, che poi fu detto ambulationes Octaviane. Poco dopo siegue la
Piazza Giudia
E' ammirabile la tazza del fonte, che quý si vede, per essere cavata dalla base di una colonna antica di marmo salino. Prese un tal nome questa piazza dagli Ebrei, i quali abusandosi della troppa condiscendenza de' sommi Pontefici, che lasciavansi abitare fra' Cristiani senza alcun segno, o distinzione, alla fine Paolo IV. ordino, che portassero al cappello un telo giallo, e che essendo essi servi di tutte le nazioni, non potessero tenere stabili, ne servit¨, e per˛ fu assegnato per loro esercizio l'arte di cucire, e di comprare e vendere cose vecchie, e per ultimo volle, che come ammorbati stessero rinchiusi in questo luogo separato, e cinto di muraglie, dove non avessero, che una sinagoga.
E' veramente notabile, che cavandosi nella piazza di questa sinagoga, furono trovate le due statue collossali, che ora stanno in Campidoglio, rappresentanti Castore e Polluce co' loro cavalli, perci˛ essendo ancora questo sito pi¨ alto, e quasi al pari del monte de' Cenci, fa sospettare essere stato quivi il teatro di Baldo, su le cui rovine potŔ essere poi stata eretta la
Chiesa di S. Tommaso, e Palazzo de' Cenci
Questa piccola chiesa dicevasi ne' tempi andati in monte mola; perchŔ sovrastante alle mole, che danno nel Tevere, e presso l'altro portone del Ghetto; ma essendo da Giulio II. conceduta a Rocco Cenci, fu poi da Francesco Cenci rifabbricata nel 1575. perci˛ prese il nome della famiglia, ed ancora del palazzo a cui Ŕ unita.
Quindi ritornando alla piazza Giudia, e voltando verso la nuova cappella coll'immagine della ss. Vergine del Carmine, che ivi sulla strada si venera, vedesi poco pi¨ avanti la
Chiesa di s. Maria in Publicolis
Il nome, che porta questa piccola chiesa ha fatto credere, che sia stata edificata da Valerio Publicola nobile Romano, ed Ŕ antica parrocchiale. Fu rinnovata l'anno 1643. dal Card. Marcello Santacroce con disegno di Gio: Ant. de' Rossi; vi sono perci˛ vari depositi di questa nobilissima famiglia scolpiti da Franc. Grimaldi Bolognese, con altre memorie antiche. Il quadro sull'altare maggiore, e quello a mano destra sono del Cav. Vannini.

Next plate in Book 2: Piazza Montanara
Next step in Day 7 itinerary: S. Carlo ai Catenari
Next step in your tour of Rione Sant'Angelo: Palazzo Boccapaduli
Next step in your tour of Rione Regola: Casa di Alessandro Gancia
Next step in your tour of Rione Sant'Eustachio: Teatro Argentina