The construction of the oratorio of the Arciconﬁaternita dei Bergamaschi in Rome is substantially linked to the project of rebuilding, which took place in the first thirty years of the 18th century, of the entire architectural complex located between Piazza Colonna, Via dei Bergamaschi and Piazza di Pietra.
In February 1727, in fact, it was decided that, by the explicit will of the Jesuits, the Bergamaschi should leave the original seat of their religious community in Piazza San Macuto and move to the building that, until then, had housed the "ospedale de' pazzi" in Piazza di Pietra.
It was thus that the Lombard Archconfraternity took possession of the premises and decided to renovate them, commissioning the architect Gabriele Valvassori to carry out the project for the new 'factory' to be built.
The first works, which began in 1729, made it possible, among other things, to restore the old oratory, which was completed in 1733.
The oratory is therefore part of the large and articulated building that from the 18th century until today - with the exception of some rooms given to private owners - belongs to the Arciconfaternita dei Bergamaschi in Rome.
For this reason and for the reason that it was adapted on a pre-existing one, the Oratorio does not have a façade on the street but an entrance that gives directly onto a room that is accessed from the main courtyard of the building.
The architecture of the room is very simple, while the decoration of the walls and the vault is extremely elegant and elaborate, in the style of the great architect Gabriele Valvassori.
Architectural membranes in relief in stucco, sometimes gilded, mark out the spaces, alternating with harmoniously homogeneous designs. The covering of the inner part of the walls consists of a beautiful boiserie, dating back to the end of the 16th century, which comes from the first oratory of the Bergamasks built in the church of S. Macuto.
During the eighteenth-century move to Piazza di Pietra, the furniture was dismantled and adapted to the new room, which, being larger, required the addition of new walnut panels.
On the upper part of the walls are several canvases of different sizes, most of which come from the church of San Macuto. They depict images of popes, bishops, cardinals, martyr saints and devotees of the Bergamo nation.
The Oratorio dell'Arciconfraternita dei Bergamaschi is therefore an extremely interesting place from an artistic and other point of view. In fact, it was used by the brethren and, in particular, for the meetings of the General Congregation of the Sodality, usually held on the second Sunday of each month. The meetings, which were open to all the brothers and members of the Order, were held behind closed doors and opened with prayers intoned by the President, which were then joined by the choir of all the brothers present. For this reason, the oratory could be accessed through the inner rooms of the building.
The Oratorio, with its entrance in Via di Pietra, is one of the few examples of this kind of place still existing in Rome: enclosed inside the building housing the institution that wanted it, it was conceived and used mainly by the members of the Arciconfraternita dei bergamaschi, one of the oldest and still operating in Rome.
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