One of the most popular Popes of the Renaissance, Pope Julius II della Rovere (1503-1513) developed a political program based on a large-scale renewal of Rome, the “Renovatio Romae”, supported by the idea of founding an absolutist type of church-state. He designed a road that would ease the connections between the different parts of the city which was important for business and economy.
The winding roads that linked the Vatican to the Capitol hill were replaced by a wide street, which would be called Via Julia, named after the Pope himself. It was intended to be somewhat representative of the financial assets and a sort of backbone of Roman affairs. Even today in its original form it is surrounded by important palaces, churches and famous squares.
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The Colonnade of Borromini
Inside the courtyard of the Palazzo Spada, the colonnade’s false perspective is created on the illusion that the tunnel looks like 35 meters long, while it is only 8,82 meters long. The illusion is due to the fact that the plans converge in a single vanishing point.
Oratory of Gonfalone Known as the Sistine Chapel of the Counter Reformation, it is one of the most beautiful architectural and artistic complexes of the second half of the Sixteenth Century. The cycle that decorates the walls of the oratory describes twelve episodes of the Passion of Christ. The scenes are framed by an architectural structure consisting of twisted columns. The interior decorations, by leading exponents of Mannerism, represent the first example of painting inspired by the ethical and aesthetic ideals of the Counter Reformation, which continued to dominate the Italian art and culture for at least two centuries.
Churchof Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte
The Confraternity of the Oration and Death was intended to bury the unidentified dead found in the countryside or drowned in the Tiber and to give them a dignified funeral. The eerie underground crypt was originally part of the Brotherhood cemetery, where more than 8,000 corpses were buried from 1552 to 1896. Today it looks like a charnel house, where everything (decorations, sculptures and chandeliers) is made with bones and skeletons.
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