Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Originally dedicated to the Apostles Philip and James, this 6th century church was soon the Roman site for honoring all 12 of the Apostles.  It is about as much in the "center" of the centro storico as you can get, just up from Piazza Venezia and the monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II, where tribute is also paid to the tomb of "The Unknown Italian Soldier" (with honor guard posted and eternal flame burning). 
Among students (the American ones, anyway) at the Jesuits' Pontifical Gregorian University, just a couple of blocks away, there is a "darker" association to this church.  In it is Canova's tomb of Pope Clement XIV,
the pope who in 1773 suppressed the Jesuit order (thanks to pressure from the governments of Portugal, Spain and France in particular).  Though they were re-instated (obviously) by Pope Pius VII some 40 years later (a story in itself), students who suffered from what to them was an unfair examination system at "The Greg" would often bring roses to lay at the tomb of Clement, thanking him for the suppression and wishing it had lasted!  [No, I never did this!]

The palace across the piazza is tied to the last of the Stuart royal family of England (their monument, also by Canova, can be seen in the left-hand aisle of St Peter's). 

There is for me one more association with this neighborhood:  a restaurant alongside the church, nicknamed the Dodici (actually, the Abruzzi), offers a wonderful antipasto smorgasbord and perhaps the finest spaghetti alla carbonara in Rome. 

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