Sapienza Vecchia (1362)
Cardinal Nicolò Capocci, who studied law at the ancient Studium, founded this college, which was known as the Collegio di San Gregorio, for the maintenance of forty poor theology students. He seems originally to have intended to house it in Palazzo Capocci (see Walk I), but subsequently secured a site for it in Via della Cupa, just inside the ancient city wall. Pope Gregory XI granted it recognition in 1371, and it became, in effect, the theological faculty of the Studium.
The college was suppressed in 1797, and part of the building was used as a theatre known as the Teatro della Minerva. It re-opened in 1802 but closed again in 1811, when the buildings passed to the University. The Collegio Pio della Sapienza (originally the Sapienza Nuova) moved here in 1829. In 1902, it passed to the Fondazione ONAOSI (Opera Nazionale per l'Assistenza agli Orfani dei Sanitari Italiani) and still operates as a female orphanage and (since 1977) as a residence for female students.
The theatre, which was rebuilt in 1814 as the Teatro della Sapienza, has been recently restored. [Entrance at number 6, Via della Sapienza]
The receptionist of ONAOSI will show you the old Cappella di San Gregorio and (through a window on the way) the inner courtyard. The red and white stone curb of the well (1363-9) at its centre is original. while the surrounding colonade was added in 1596.
Cappella di San Gregorio
Frescoes (14th century)
These damaged frescoes were re-discovered recently under the plaster.
| Crucifixion (14th century)|
This fresco is on the altar wall.
| Annunciation (14th century)|
This fresco ison the right wall.
Works Removed from the Church
Sapienza Vecchia Altarpiece (1518)
This altarpiece from the Cappella di San Gregorio, which is the masterpiece of Domenico Alfani, is signed and dated. The Commune bought it in 1885 and it is now in the Galleria Nazionale (Room 31)
Return to Walk II.