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Sant’Andrea in Vincis

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Sant’Andrea in Vincis was a small mediaeval guild church, now demolished, on the east side of what is now the Via del Teatro di Marcello. This is in the rione Campitelli.

The dedication was to St Andrew the Apostle. Do not confuse with Santa Maria in Vincis, which was nearby.

HistoryEdit

It first appears in the Catalogus Camerarii in 1192 as parish church, and was probably older than that. A hint that it was an old foundation is that it was situated on a little piazza off the street, behind the main street frontage. This indicates that it was there before the mediaeval street plan was established.

There are three names recorded: Sant'Andrea in Vincis, de' Funari or in Matuta. The last one had variants: Mentuza and Mentuccia. There is also one documented reference to a San Salvatore in Mentuza, which is probably this church (or maybe an otherwise unknown other one).

Funari and Vincis apparently refer to ropes and chains, respecitively, although the latter can mean ropes used to tie up people or animals. It seems that ropes might have been made in the locality in the Middle Ages. That it was a locality name is indicated by the nearby church sharing the name, Santa Maria in Vincis, and a surviving church called Santa Caterina dei Funari. However, an alternative theory is that Funari and Vincis derived from family names, the latter being a corruption of Guinizo.

The meaning of Matuta is unknown. The guess that it is a memory of an ancient temple, dedicated to the Mater Matuta and now under Sant'Omobono, is persuasive but cannot be proved.

As with many other small, poor parish churches in the city, this one became a guild church in the 17th century. The guild concerned was the Università dei Marmorari or marble stone-carvers, who from 1570 were at the Cappella di San Silvestro at the church of the Santi Quattro Coronati (they still own this). In 1596 they established their main headquarters at the church of San Leonardo in Albis, which used to stand on the site of the Palazzo Costaguti on the Piazza Mattei. However, they were there for a very short time because the church was sequestered and demolished to build the palazzo at the end of the century. In 1623 the guild was given this church, and in 1662 the parish was suppressed. The church was re-dedicated to Santi Andrea e Leonardo, after St Leonard of Noblac.

The guild thoroughly restored the church and added a Baroque façade, the architect being Carlo Puri de Marchis. In 1762 an ancient chamber, with frescoes, was discovered beneath the church. This, part of an ancient bath-house, was re-excavated with other ancient remains when the church was demolished.

The church was demolished in or before 1929 as part of the Fascist scheme to provide a trunk road from the centre of the city to the southern suburbs and Lido di Ostia (the Via del Mare) which entailed the widening of what had been a narrow street. Most of the buildings on the east side, including this church, were removed. The work started at the Piazza Venezia end in 1926, and this section of road was opened in 1930.

LocationEdit

The street in which the church was used to be called the Strada di Tor de' Specchi, before it was subsumed into the Via del Teatro di Marcello and drastically widened. The former street was narrow and ran directly below the walls of the Tor de' Specchi convent, but the church was set back from the street on the other side of a little square piazza.

The site is near the junction with the Via Montanara, a little in the direction of the Piazza Venezia. Opposite the mediaeval entrance to the convent, across the road, you will see an arched niche in the retaining wall. The church used to be to the left of this. The line of the façade is about where the double white line in the middle of the road now is.

AppearanceEdit

It was very small. In plan, it was a simple rectangle, with no external chapels. There was a tiny rectangular apse, and a narrow entrance lobby leading through the Baroque façade which was added to the original structure.

The façade had one storey. Three entrances were squashed together so as to occupy the entire width of the church. The central one, which was larger, had a raised segmental pediment over a tablet bearing a motif of a crown and palm branches. This entrance composition occupied about two-thirds of the height of the façade.

Each subsidiary entrance had an oval window above (geometrically not elliptical), and above this was a floating archivolt with a shallow curve, replicating the curve of the segmental pediment in the centre. Above these side doors were two large rectangular windows with Baroque frames, and above the central doorway was a fresco of the Madonna and Child in an arched frame which reached up into the gable.

The interior of the church was described as richly decorated, and as having pictures of high quality. The main altar fitted snugly into its tiny barrel-vaulted apse. It had a canopy with two Composite columns of red portasanta marble supporting a split segmental pediment into which an elliptical tondo was inserted.

The ceiling vault had a fresco by Antonio Nessi. The executors of the other paintings seem not to be on record.

External linksEdit

De Alvariis gallery on Flickr

"Intarch" page with photo

"Antonio Cederna" gallery (with another photo of exterior)

Main altar (on above website)

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