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Piazza alli Monti (Book 2) (Day 3) (Rione Monti)

In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Today's view
SS. Sergio e Bacco (S. Maria al Pascolo) and the fountain
Cappella di S. Benedetto Giuseppe Labre
XVIIIth century buildings and S. Salvatore ad tres images (S. Francesco di Paola)

The Plate (No. 37)

Piazza ai Monti

Via dei Serpenti was called il Corso dei Monti, what today we would call the high street of Rione Monti, the old Suburra of Rome. The church of S. Maria ai Monti is shown in plate 169 - Collegio de' Neofiti. The view is taken from the green dot in the 1748 map here below. In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Chiesa dei SS. Sergio e Bacco; 2) S. Maria ai Monti; 3) Via dei Serpenti. The small map shows also 4) Piazza degli Zingari; 5) Casa Stefanoni; 6) S. Salvatore ad tres images; 7) Cappella di S. Giuseppe Benedetto Labre.

Small ViewSmall View


The view today

Today Via dei Serpenti and the neighboring area is cut from the main traffic flow due to the opening of Via Nazionale and Via Cavour. The grand street and the large piazza of the plate are just an excessive adjustment to reality by Vasi.
The street was named after a house which had a (lost) painting showing Laocoon and his two sons in the coils of the serpents sent by Apollo.

Fountain and Church

Fountain and Church

The fountain was built during the pontificate of Sixtus V (lower right corner). The small church was restored by Leo XIII (upper right corner). The column surrounded by flames is a symbol of unscathed faith (it can be seen also in S. Basilio). It is a church for the Catholics of Eastern Europe. It was also called S. Maria del Pascolo.

Cappella di S. Benedetto Giuseppe Labre

Cappella di S. Benedetto Giuseppe Labre

On April 16, 1783 Benedict Joseph Labre, a French monk who was leading a very penitential life in the streets of Rome, sleeping on the ground and eating very little, lost consciousness on the steps of S. Maria ai Monti. He was brought to a house belonging to the Portuguese church of S. Antonio, where he passed away that same day. Later on the room where he died was transformed into a small chapel (more on him).
The narrow street behind the house is named after a Roman relief showing a griffin, a mythological animal often portrayed on the minor sides of sarcophagi.

XVIIIth Century Buildings

XVIIIth century buildings

The area around Piazza alli Monti retains some elegant XVIIIth century buildings: the image shows from left to right the windows of a building in Piazza degli Zingari and a fountain in Casa Stefanoni.
The last two images show XVth century reliefs walled on a modern building. They belonged to the church of S. Salvatore ad tres images which was pulled down in 1884. The church was also known as S. Francesco di Paola and Vasi shows it with this name in his Map of Rome.

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:

Chiesa di s. Maria del Pascolo
Era prima dedicata questa piccola chiesa ai ss: Sergio e Bacco, ed era parrocchiale, ma ora per l'immagine della ss. Vergine ha mutato nome, e vi risiedono alcuni Preti di nazione Rutena. Il fonte, che si vede sulla piazzetta, vi fu eretto da Sisto V. per comodo di quella contrada; e la strada di fianco si dice de' serpenti, per l'immagini di quelli, che fingono di reggere un balcone.
Quindi ripigliando il cammino per la strada della nuova suburra, si trova una piccolissima chiesa dedicata al ss. Salvatore, che fu detta anticamente alle tre immagini; ora ne ha cura la compagnia di s. Francesco di Paola, e si conserva in essa il corpo di s. Severa.

Next plate in Book 2: Piazza di Colonna Trajana
Next step in Day 3 itinerary: Chiesa e Monastero di S. Lorenzo in Panisperna
Next step in your tour of Rione Monti: Chiesa e Monastero di S. Lorenzo in Panisperna

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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