Collegio Romano - Astronomical & Meteorological Observatory at Palazzo del Collegio Romano, Rome

"Collegio Romano - Astronomical & Meteorological Observatory at Palazzo del Collegio Romano, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 29th April 2011

piazza del collegio romano, rome

It is located in the palace adjoining the Chiesa di S.Ignazio. The meteorological center was founded in the 18th century by Jesuits and was developed starting from 1849, when Jesuit Angelo Secchi became its director. The traditional astronomic activity of Jesuits moved to Vatican after 1870 and now continues its work in Pope's Villa at Castel Gandolfo (to the south-east of Rome).

The majestic complex, that occupies a whole block and includes the Church of S. Ignazio, was the seat of important cultural institutions, the formerly Museo Kircheriano, the Observatory, the Museo Preistorico-Etnografico "Luigi Pigorini" (then moved to its new seat at the EUR) and the Biblioteca dei Gesuiti, that formed the first core of the Biblioteca nazionale centrale Vittorio Emanuele II.

It was the first and the greatest scholastic institution of Jesuits, conceived by St Ignatius as the base of his movement. It was founded by St Francis Borgia, duke of Gandia, the 3rd general of the Jesuits. Its pupils included eight popes: Urban VIII, Innocent X, Clement IX, Clement X, Innocent XII, Clement XI, Innocent XIII and Clement XII. After it changed several seats, the school of Jesuits founded in 1551 in a house at the feet of S.Maria in Aracoeli, moved in 1560 into some houses on the site, where later a Chiesa di S.Ignazio was built. Gregory XIII gave the school a piece of land where in 1585 the College was built by B.Ammannati.

Here the greatest proffessors-Jesuits taught and in 1586 they elaborated "ratio studiorum", a basic conception of Jesuit education all over the world. Here some other institutions were founded: Museo ordinato del p.Kircher, astronomic observatory, and a big library, which after 1870 became a heart of "National Library Victor Emmanuel II", unveiled in the walls of Collegio Romano in 1875 and a century later moved to specially built for it palace of "Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale" at Castro Pretorio in Rome, close to the University City. The Museo kircheriano served as a base for the Ethnographic Museum Pigorini located in EUR in Rome.
Astronomical & Meteorological Observatory at Palazzo del Collegio Romano, Rome
Collegio Romano accepted pupils from different foreign and national congregations, as well as civic students, who preferred the college to the University of Sapienza.

After the Jesuit order was suppressed in 1773 the palace of college became a seat of Roman Seminary, and was restituted to Jesuits in 1824. After 1870 the Italian State placed here the first State school in Rome "Liceo-ginnasio Visconti", which exists till now. A part of the palace houses the Public University. In 1870 The Jesuit University moved to Palazzo Borromeo and in 1930 to its present seat in Piazza della Pilotta, and the school moved to Villa Montalto Massimo close to Termini Station.

Ignatius himself founded the Collegio Romano as a seminary for Jesuit students of all nations. The school started in early 1551 in rented rooms at the Campidoglio end of Via Aracoeli but quickly outgrew that spot and moved several times until Pius IV in 1560 persuaded the Marchesa Vittoria della Tolfa, sister of the late paul IV, to donate her palazzo and adjoining property to the Society of Jesus. The palazzo was located on the site of the present Church of S. Ignazio.

The interest for astronomy was quite big in Rome, starting from the studies promoted by Gregory XIII for his reform of Calendar. In the 17th-18th centuries a number of big and small observatories appeared in Rome (at S.Maria in Vallicella; in Via dei Lucchesi; at Trinita dei Monti; in convent of Dominicans of Minerva; in Palazzo di Caetani in Via delle Botteghe Oscure, where for the first time was installed a seismograph in 1784 for registration of earthquakes).

Lay students and non-Jesuit seminarians were admitted to the school and strained the facilities of the college until Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 expropriated an entire neighborhood and then paid for the construction of the edifice. He ordered builders to use fired-brick walls instead of simple rubble walls that were more common but less durable.

Saint Robert Bellarmine was rector of the college at the end of the 16th century. Among the Jesuits who lived here during their studies were Aloysius Gonzaga, John Berchmans and Anthony Baldinucci. Their rooms and the chapel of the vows are on the top floor.

the building houses the Liceo-Ginnasio "Ennio Quirino Visconti" (the first school of the city) and the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (Ministry of Culture). Visitors can get a good view into the courtyard and see remnants of the astronomy observatory on the school's roof from the walkway leading into the old novitiate which is accessible via an elevator located in the sacristy of the Church of Saint Ignatius. Permission to use the elevator is given by the sacristan.

The great terracotta-tiled facade has three bodies: the central body is the highest and is crowned by a balustrade on whose sides are two sundial shrines and at its centre is a bell tower with a little cupola. The clock under it once gave the exact time and was “official” for all the clocks of Rome. in the central body are two doors decorated by the Boncompagni herald dragons.

Notes: The building is closed to the public.

Collegio Romano - Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory at Palazzo del Collegio Romano
Piazza del Collegio Romano, 4, adjoining the Chiesa di S.Ignazio
00186, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Pigna (Torre Argentina) (Roma centro)
Collegio Romano - Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory at Palazzo del Collegio Romano is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "49"
You can reach Collegio Romano at Piazza del Collegio Romano By the following Bus Station:
(Know before you go: Rome Bus stops, Bus Lines, Signs, Color, etc.)
Bus: H - 40 - 46 - 62 - 63 - 64 - 70 - 81 - 85 - 87 - 95 - 117 - 119 - 160 - 175 - 186 - 492 - 628 - 630 - 810 - 850 - 204

Closest Underground Metro stations near Collegio Romano at Piazza del Collegio Romano: (Get an idea of : Rome Underground METRO Lines System and Trains)
METRO A BARBERINI, Barberini (piazza), 10, 367 mt.
METRO B COLOSSEO, Del Colosseo (piazza), 1, 489 mt.
METRO B CAVOUR, Visconti Venosta (largo), 228, 496 mt.
METRO A REPUBBLICA, Della Repubblica (piazza), 55, 497 mt.
METRO A SPAGNA, Della Trinita' Dei Monti (piazza), 3, 567 mt.
METRO B CIRCO MASSIMO, Del Circo Massimo (via), 1, 600 mt.
METRO B TERMINI, dei cinquecento (piazza), 84, 631 mt.
METRO A TERMINI, piazza dei cinquecento, 1, 737 mt.
METRO B CASTRO PRETORIO, Castro Pretorio (viale), 123, 872 mt.
METRO B PIRAMIDE, Ostiense (piazzale), 1, 880 mt.

Closest Railway stations near Collegio Romano at Piazza del Collegio Romano:
STAZIONE TERMINI, Dei Cinquecento (piazza), 1, 737 mt.
ROMALIDO PORTA SAN PAOLO, piazzale ostiense, 1, 896 mt.
STAZIONE FLAMINIO, Di Villa Ruffo (via), 1, 982 mt.
ROMAPANTANO TERMINI LAZIALI, Giovanni Giolitti (via), 64, 998 mt.
FR3 QUATTRO VENTI, Viale dei Quattro Venti, 1.1 km

Closest Tourist Information Points near Collegio Romano at Piazza del Collegio Romano:
Fontana di Trevi, Via Minghetti, 106 mt.
Navona, Piazza delle Cinque Lune, 340 mt.
Visitor Center Fori Imperiali, Via dei Fori Imperiali, 365 mt.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Via Nazionale 194, 467 mt.
Trastevere, Piazza Sonnino, 487 mt.
Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Pia, 691 mt.
Santa Maria Maggiore, Via dell'Olmata, 711 mt.

Getting To Collegio Romano at Piazza del Collegio Romano From Piazza di Sant'Ignazio:
Departure from roma piazza di sant' ignazio , 1
walk 200 meters
to roma piazza del collegio romano , 1
distance covered (metres) 200 meters.

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