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Chiesa di S. Bernardo alle Terme (Book 7) (Day 2) (Map A2) (Rione Monti)

In this page:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 The Calidarium
 Coat of Arms

The Plate (No. 127 - iii)

Chiesa di S. Bernardo alle Terme

S. Bernardo is one of the additional smaller plates Vasi added to the standard 20 plates of a book. Alle Terme refers to the Terme (Baths) of Diocleziano. The church is part of this complex. The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) S. Bernardo; 2) Strada Pia.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

The only change one notices is the disappearance of the little dome. Strada Pia, the street opened in the XVIth century by Pius IV to link Palazzo del Quirinale with Porta Pia is now called Via XX Settembre (1870).
The fine stucco decoration and the painting showing S. Bernardo are the result of a 1670 general restoration and embellishment of the church.

The Calidarium

The old walls

The church is one of the rooms where Romans had hot steam baths (calidaria), or more likely, as it is far from the central area of the baths, a room used for playing ball games (sphaeristerium) or just having a rest. It is a small Pantheon like building situated at one of the corners of the immense Baths (as you can see in my background). A few steps in the narrow road on the flank of the church allow one to see the huge brick walls which have survived to the year 2000. The hexagonal decoration of the vault of the church is a reminder of the vaults of Tempio della Pace (Basilica of Maxentius).

The Coat of Arms

Coat of arms

Pius IX restored the church and is honoured in one of the side entrances. The Papal coat of arms is between the two lower levels in ecclesiastical hierarchy: the Cardinal (left) and the Bishop (right).

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Chiesa di S. Bernardo a Termini
Non prima dell'anno 1598. fu ridotto in chiesa quest'ammirabile avanzo delle Terme Diocleziane, in onore di s. Bernardo, e accanto vi fu eretto il monastero per li monaci del medesimo Santo, della riforma per˛ fatta dal venerabile D. Gio. Barriero abate Furiense di Tolosa, il corpo del quale giace a sinistra dell'altare maggiore. ╚ questa di figura circolare, e vi sono stati adattati delle nicchie ed altari d'intorno, ornati di stucchi, e di pitture. Il Cav. Odazj vi fece li due gran quadri, e Cammillo Mariani da Vicenza le otto statue di stucco collocate nelle nicchie; la statua per˛ di s. Francesco, ed altro nella cappella laterale sono lavori in marmo di Giacomo Antonio Fancelli. Nell'orto di detto monastero si vedono delle rovine delle medesime Terme in forma di teatro, e vi fu adattata una cappella dedicata a s. Caterina.

Next plate in Book 7: Chiesa della SS. Trinità
Next step in Day 2 itinerary: Piazza di Termini
Next step in your tour of Rione Monti: Chiesa e Monastero di S. Susanna

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