Santa Maria delle Lauretane

Santa Maria delle Lauretane (2003)


    In the middle of the 17th century the Calced Carmelite priest Angelo Paolo from San Martino ai Monti initiated the building of a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary at the "stradone di San Giovanni" (the present Via di San Giovanni in Laterano) in the vicinity of the basilica of San Clemente. Nearby, some noblewomen, under the leadership of the principessa Teresa Doria-Pamphili, had instituted an asylum for poor and orphan girls. The asylum was soon entrusted to Lauretan nuns, i.e. under the protection of the Madonna of Loreto. In 1715 the condition of the buildings and the church and also the growth of the parish prompted pope Clement XI (1700-1721) to commission the architect Giuseppe Sardi (1680-1753) to rebuild the convent school and the small adjacent church. Sardi designed a new church with an elliptical ground-plan and a profound apse.

    Some time after 1870 the entire complex was nationalized by the Italian state and, as a consequence of this, it was transformed and incorporated into the newly built communal fiscal office of Rome. As a curious fact the last remains of the "Summum Choragium" below street level were totally destroyed during the construction work in the area. The "Summum Choragium" was the place, where one prepared the machinery used at the spectacle in the Colosseum, and it was connected to the arena at the Colosseum via a subterranean passage. In addition to this all traces of several medieval churches, all situated in the area, were destroyed. The churches concerned are e.g. San Giacomo al Colosseo (demolished in 1822) and San Pastore.

Santa Maria delle Lauretane: detail of fašade


    Today all that remains of the convent and the church of Santa Maria delle Lauretane, located at Via di San Giovanni Laterano 33-35, is the long three-storeyed fašade of the convent with the fašade of the church at its centre. The fašade, with its colossal order, has Ionic semicolumns and pilasters flanking the doorway and partly the central semicircular window, over which a broken triangular pediment is placed. The window is also surmounted by a cherub in stucco. The fašade of Santa Maria delle Lauretane has recently been renovated.

Santa Maria delle Lauretane (2002)