Piazza San Callisto is named for the Church of San Callisto that is located there, at the spot where Pope Callisto I, who was martyred during persecutions by the Emperor Alexander Severus, used to live.
Piazza San Callisto Rome
To the right of the church is the Palazzo San Callisto, a huge complex, commissioned by Pope Pius XI and designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1936. The building was meant to have become the seat of the Congregazioni della Santa Sede, but this was moved to the Vatican itself in 1959. The complex consists of 4 buildings around a courtyard. In the courtyard is a statue of Pius himself.
Across the road from the church (on no. 9) stands the Palazzo del Pozzo, which was built in the first half of the 16th century and in 1749 became property of the Conservatorio della Beata Vergine Maria, a “home for virginal and honest girls who wish to serve God and want to escape from the cruelty of their parents and husbands or have other reasons to fear for their own lives”. In 1802 the Conservatorio had to close and the virginal girls were returned to their cruel husbands and parents. The third floor of the building was built one century later. The Pozzo family coat-of-ams (a well with a snake on each side of it) can be seen above the entrance.
The Arch of Callisto connects two buildings and forms a sort of entrance to the Via dell’Arco di San Callisto. This alley used to be known for the Osteria della Vedovella, which was run by one of the most beautiful women in Rome. Rome’s smallest house can also be found in this street (Via dell’Arco di San Callisto, 43). It has two floors and is so small that the stairway to the second floor was built on the outside.Â There is also a 17th century Madonna kiosk.