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Chiesa e Monastero di San Cosimato (Book 8) (Map C3) (Day 6) (View D11) (Rione Trastevere)

In this page:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 The Chapel
 The Cloister
 Villa Sciarra

The Plate (No. 151)

Monastero e Chiesa di San Cosimato

The Monastery of S. Cosimato (also known as S. Cosmo e Damiano) was inside the walls, but in an area of Trastevere which was mainly occupied by vineyards belonging to the monastery. The porch is very similar to the porches of S. Clemente and S. Maria in Cosmedin The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Entrance and ancient walls; 2) Vigna (farm) belonging to the monastery. The small map shows also 3) Chapel of S. Cosimato; 4) Main cloister; 5) Villa Sciarra.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

Piazza S. Cosimato is today known more for its market and its many restaurants than for the Monastery. The old entrance is today at a lower level and it is almost unnoticed.

The Chapel

The Church of San Cosimato

The little chapel inside the Monastery (today a hospital) has a very nicely decorated entrance.

The Cloister

The Cloister

The cloister (built at the time of Sixtus IV as you see from the coat of arms in my background) has retained its peaceful atmosphere.

Villa Sciarra

Urbanus VIII protected with new walls the Janiculum and in 1653, his nephew Cardinal Antonio Barberini bought most of the land next to the walls between Porta Portese and Porta S. Pancrazio to build a summer residence. At the time of the small map (1748) the area belonged to the Ottoboni, but it was bought again by the Barberini. With the extinction of the Barberini family and after endless legal battles, in 1811 the property was acquired by the Colonna di Sciarra, who gave the Villa its current name. In 1886 the estate was split and a large part of it became a residential area. Thank goodness an American couple George Wurts and Henriette Tower bought the part of the estate closest to the walls and restored it (the area had been largely damaged in 1849 during the fights between the French troops and the supporters of the Roman Republic). George Wurts brought here the fountains and the statues which decorated an XVIIIth century villa near Milan. In 1928 Mrs Wurts donated in her will the Villa to the City of Rome, but she did this through a personal donation to Benito Mussolini, whose name (after World War II) was erased from the inscription celebrating the donation.

Villa Sciarra

The images above summarize the history of Villa Sciarra: (left to right): a coat of arms of Cardinal Barberini; a relief which can also be seen above the entrance of Palazzo Colonna di Sciarra; the symbol of the Visconti family (and one of the symbols of Milan).

Villa Sciarra

The subjects and the style of the fountains and statues of Villa Sciarra are quite different from those which typically decorate the other Villas of Rome.

Villa Sciarra

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Chiesa e Monastero de' ss. Cosimo e Damiano
I monaci Benedettini possedettero questa chiesa, e fu una delle 20. Badie privilegiate. Nell'anno 1243. fu conceduta alle religiose di s. Chiara, e poi dal Pontefice Sisto IV. fu riedificata insieme con il convento. L'immagine della ss. Vergine, che sta sull'altare maggiore era nell'antica basilica di s. Pietro. Sotto l'altare sono i corpi di s. Fortunata, e di s. Severa, e li bassirilievi, che vi si vedono, stavano prima nella chiesa di s. Maria del Popolo, ove ora la cappella Cibo.
In questi contorni, s crede essere stati gli orti di Giulio Cesare, lasciati per testamento al popolo Romano, ed ancora la Naumachia fatta da Ottaviano Augusto.

Next plate in Book 8: Monastero di S. Lorenzo in Panisperna
Next step in Day 6 itinerary: Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere

Go to    or to  Book 8 or to my Home Page on Baroque Rome or to my Home Page on Rome in the footsteps of an XVIIIth century traveller.

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