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Santa Teresa e San Giovanni della Croce

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Santa Teresa e San Giovanni della Croce is a deconsecrated 18th century convent church on the Piazza del Monte di Pietà in the rione Regola.

The dedication was jointly to St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.


The building on the site, the Palazzo Grande Barberini, was a long-term project by the Barberini family, who started to build it in 1581 and only finished it in 1644. Several architects contributed to the work, notably Carlo Maderno and Flaminio Ponzo. The most famous resident was the Barberini Pope Urban VIII.

In 1734 the family sold the complex to the Discalced Carmelites, which converted it into a Generalate (headquarters) for their entire order. The entrance hall became their new church, and is shown as such on the Nolli map of 1748. However, the Discalced Carmelites were only there for twenty-five years before changing their minds and moving to Santa Maria della Vittoria; they now have their Generalate at Santa Teresa d'Avila.

The former palace was then sold to the Monte di Pietà, which was in need of office space. The church was immediately deconsecrated in 1759, and reverted to its former function. In the 19th century the complex functioned as a school, but is now privately owned.

Part of the arrangements involved in the 1759 move was the foundation of a little church in the same rione, Santa Teresa a Monserrato. This was apparently so that St Teresa would still have a church dedicated to her in Rome. St John of the Cross had to wait until the end of the 20th century for his next church in the city, San Giovanni della Croce a Colle Salario.

It should be noted that this church and Santa Teresa a Monserrato have been seriously confused in some of the sources.


In the layout of the palace, the main entrance from the piazza led into a transverse rectangular hall, almost square. An identically sized hall was accessed through a doubled archway on two pairs of pilasters, and this in turn led out into the palace courtyard. The church was formed by combining the two halls.

The palace façade, with its large entrance having a simple molded doorcase, survives but is not very inspiring. There is no trace that a church was here.

External linksEdit

"Romeartlover" web-page

Nolli map (look for 722)

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