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Piazza di Pasquino (Book 2) (Day 4) (View C6) (Rione Parione)

In this page:
The plate of Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view
S. Maria degli Agonizzanti
Palazzo Braschi
Palazzo dei Ritratti
That's mine!

The Plate (No. 26 - ii)

Piazza di Pasquino

Piazza di Pasquino is a small square near Piazza Navona known for the torso of a statue representing Menelaus with the body of Patroclus, but known as Pasquino after the name  of a tailor who lived nearby and who had a reputation for lampooning. In the plate however the statue is almost invisible. 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) Statua di Pasquino; 2) S. Maria degli Agonizzanti; 3) Palazzo Pamfili; 4) Strada Papale (the street by which the Pope from St Peter's reached S. Giovanni in Laterano to take possession of his bishopry). 3) is shown in more detail in another page. The small map shows also: 5) Palazzo dei Ritratti.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

The buildings behind the statue were pulled down a few years after the plate to erect Palazzo Braschi, the family Palace of Pius VI. To the left the façade of S. Maria degli Agonizzanti and in the front the back of Palazzo Pamfili in Piazza Navona.


PasquinoMenelaus with the body of Patroclus

The most famous of the talking statues of Rome is still used from time to time for posting messages and claims. Usually Pasquino talked with Marforio, more occasionally with Madama Lucrezia, Abate Luigi, il Facchino and il Babuino (click here to learn more about Pasquino and the Talking Statues of Rome). In Loggia della Signoria in Florence there is another Roman copy of the ancient Greek statue: it was found in Rome in the XVIth century and brought to Florence where it was amply restored. It is one of many works of art moved from Rome to Florence (see my Florentine Recollections).

S. Maria degli Agonizzanti

S. Maria degli Agonizzanti

The church, in origin just a chapel for the members of a brotherhood who assisted those who were sentenced to death (hence the name agonizzanti), was given a new façade in 1862.
The building shown to the far right in the plate was later embellished with a fine decoration.
The portal of Palazzo Bonadies, opposite Palazzo Braschi, is decorated with a human face which is in part designed with architectonic elements.

Palazzo Braschi

Palazzo Braschi

The coat of arms of Pius VI was recently cleaned but it has lost its lower part with the representation of Borea, a strong wind (my background for this plate, copied from a relief in the inner court of the Palace, shows Borea). The palace was built by Girolamo Onesti the brother-in-law of pope Pius VI. He added to his surname the surname of the pope (Braschi) so the palace should be called Onesti Braschi, but because Onesti means honest in Italian the double name sounded inconsistent with the fame of the relatives of the pope. The palace is also decorated with a lion holding a pine-cone in his mouth, the heraldic symbol of the Onesti family. Learn more about Pius VI by clicking here. The façade of Palazzo Braschi is shown in the next step of this itinerary.

Palazzo dei Ritratti

Palazzo dei ritratti

This section of Strada Papale is now called Via del Governo Vecchio after the palace by the same name. It was one of the most important streets of Rome and many palaces show the wealth of their owners. Palazzo dei Ritratti (portraits) is the name usually given to a palace decorated with paintings (XVth century) and reliefs showing great lawyers of the past (XVIIIth century).

That's Mine!

Known symbols

Many houses in the narrow streets near Piazza di Pasquino retain an indication of their former owners: the dove of the Pamphilj is obviously on many buildings as this family owned most of the estates near Piazza Navona.
A hedgehog (riccio in Italian) on a portal tells us that the small palace belonged (at the beginning of the XVIIth century) to the Ricci family.
The apparently anonymous three mountains above another door mean that the house belonged to the Peretti family, the family of pope Sixtus V, whose heraldic symbols included the trimonzio, three mountains.

Other symbols

In some cases we can even learn that a house that belonged to the Matuzzi (rampant lion) was bought by the Peretti who added a crown of small pears (another symbol of the family).
But there is no memory of the owner of the gentle lion who greets with an olive branch those who enter another small palace.

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Palazzo Lancellotti, e Santobono
A capo di piazza Navona sono questi due palazzi divisi dal vicolo, che dicesi della Cuccagna; a destra è quello de' Lancellotti, eretto con disegno di Pirro Ligorio; e dall'altra parte quello degli Orfani, poi de' Bracciani, ed è molto antico, benchè da una parte fu principiato con buona architettura. In oggi è posseduto da' Principi di Santobono, e si estende a sinistra fino alla piazza di Pasquino, così detta dal tronco di una statua antica posta nel cantone del medesimo, la quale, come diceva il Bernini, se fosse intiera, e non deformata, sarebbe la migliore statua di Roma; dicesi di Pasquino per un bottegaro, che vi abitava accanto, e ne' secoli passati solevansi a quella affiliare le satire, perciò dette pasquinate.
Chiesa di s. Maria degli Agonizzanti
Questa piazza si dice ancora de' Librari, e degli Agonizzanti per la chiesa della Confraternita, che sta presso un tal isituto. Questa dopo vari luoghi eresse quì il suo oratorio e chiesa; esercita la sua carica in orare per gli agonizzanti e specialmente per quelli, che dalla Giustizia sono condannati a morte, facendo dell'esposizioni, e celebrando molte messe.

Next plate in Book 2: Piazza di S. Pietro in Vaticano
Next step in Day 4 itinerary: Palazzo Massimi
Next step in your tour of Rione Parione: Palazzo Massimi


Go to    or to  Book 2 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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