On the Aventine Hill is this enchanting garden, once part of the possessions of the suppressed convent of the Somascan Congregation in Sant 'Alessio all'Aventino, one of early medieval Rome most important monastic centres, presumably founded between the 7th and 8th centuries. In 1877, the building was given to the Municipality of Rome by the Giunta Liquidatrice dell’Asse Ecclesiastico (Liquidating Council of the Ecclesiastical Axis) to implement the provisions of the 1866 law on the abolition of ecclesiastical bodies. Now, it is the seat of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani (National Institute of Roman Studies).
Located between the Villa Magistrale of the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Basilica of Saint Sabina, the historic green area is a traditional late 19th-century public garden with a landscape taste: rectangular in plan, it is crossed by a path, surrounded by trees and plants, such as pines and Mediterranean essences, with grassy parterres, and is a splendid panoramic terrace over Rome.
On the left wall, it is possible to admire a fountain, located here in 1937, coming from the late-Reinassance Palazzo Accoramboni. The building was demolished with the ancient Spina di Borgo to build the current Via della Conciliazione. From the wall, bunches of limestone frame a richly decorated basin supported by a bird, from whose beak a jet of water flows into the basin below. In a nearby flowerbed is the statue of Saint Joan of Arc, donated in 1935 by the French sculptor Maxime Real Del Sarte, placed in the garden only in 1954, the same year as the artist's death.
Not to be missed a visit to the adjacent Basilica of Saints Bonifacio and Alessio, built between the 3rd and 4th centuries. The neo-16th-century facade precedes the large and solemn interiors and the Romanesque crypt, where the relics of St. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, are kept. To the right of the facade is a 13th-century bell tower. The cloister is suggestive, decorated with granite columns from ancient buildings. From here, you can enjoy a magnificent view of St. Peter's Basilica.
Photo: Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
From dawn to dusk
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