VIA GIULIA. At
the beginning of the 16th century Pope Julius II replaced
the maze of streets from the Capitol to the Vatican with a
long straight street to which he gave his name. For centuries
it has been Rome's most important street, dotted with palazzi
and churches, adjacent to a picturesque neighborhood bustling
with travellers and tradesmen.
There are many churches along Via Giulia. To the right flank
of the Palazzo Farnese there is the lovely church "Santa
Maria del Suffragio", dedicated to the mourning
of the dead. The Neapolitans had their national church "Spirito
Santo dei Napoletani.
The Florentines had the Basilica of St. Giovanni dei Fiorentini,
dedicated to St. John Baptist, the patron saint of Florence,
commissioned by the Medici Leo X, built with contributions
of Sansovino, Sangallo the Younger, Della Porta, Maderno,
A. Galilei, Bromine.
St. Andrea della
Towards the Capitol Hill (Piazza Venezia), one finds the
fine church of Sant'Andrea della Valle. The
church is the mother house of the Theatine Order, founded
in 1524 by St. Gaetano di Thiene. It has the highest dome
in Rome after St. Peter's, and it was built following the
plans of many architects (G. della Porta, Carlo Maderno, Rainaldi
and Fontana). The relative nudity of the nave contrasts with
the rich frescoes, of which the most notables are those of
the Evangelists in the four pendentives, by Domenichino.
Walking towards the Capitol Hill (Piazza Venezia, towards
East), one reaches the Area Sacra dell'Argentina,
and the remains of Pompey's Theater and Curia.
Pompey built the theatre on his own land, and topped it with
a temple dedicated to Venus Victrix (the Goddess of Victory).
The theater, which could seat 18,000 spectators, was inaugurated
in 65 BC, with literary and musical events, and with hunts
lasting several days, in which lions, elephants, and lynxes
Chiesa del Gesu'
Via Giulia, the
Fontana del Mascherone
(big mask fountain)
Santa Maria del
Walking towards Piazza Venezia and Capitol Hill (Campidoglio)
one finds the splendid Jesus Church (Chiesa del Gesu'),
built between 1568 and 1578.
It is the church of the Jesuit order, which became the model
of Counter-Reformation churches in Europe. The facade is by
Giacomo della Porta. The interior is by Vignola,
and is exceptionally rich, with sumptuous details in coloured
marble and lapis lazuli.
Perhaps the major masterpiece is the fresco in the vault of
the nave, the "Triumph of the name of Jesus". The
author is Giovanni Battista Gaulli, also called Baciccia,
contemporary of Bernini (17th century), and having his exuberant
style. Also the Chapel of St. Ignatius of Loyola by Andrea
Pozzo (1696-1700) is renowned for its opulence.