The San Michele a Ripa Complex in Rome includes the entire Porto di Ripa Grande, the city’s former river harbor along the banks of the Tiber.
San Michele a Ripa Complex Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via di San Michele, 25 00153 Rome (tel. +39 06 58434405). Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30 until 19.00. Closed: Mondays. Admission: Free. Public transport: Bus H,3,23,44,125,280; tram 8.
History and description
Everything started with one Carlo Tommaso Odescalchi, aka “the apostle of charity in Rome”, who used his considerable wealth in 1679 in order to start a foundation to help the poor. Five years later he had a hospice constructed, where children were taught the manufacture of wool.
In 1693 Pope Innocent XII added the Ospizio Apostolico di S.Michele dei Poveri Inabili to the original building and in 1709 Pope Clemente XI ordered Carlo Fontana to extend the complex even further in order to move the elderly there from the Ospedale dei Mendicanti in the Via Giulia. Other additions were a prison for minors and an art school.
The school for making wall carpets, the Arazzeria Albani, became famous and existed until 1910.
The Santa Maria del Buon Viaggio Church was incorporated in the complex. “Saint Mary of the Good Trip” was called thus because the sailors and travelers used to go there to pray before leaving Trastevere through the Porta Portese.
In 1735 Pope Clemente XII ordered Ferdinando Fuga to construct a woman’s prison and a barracks for customs officers.
The Chiesa Grande, which is located in the middle of all the buildings, was designed by Carlo Fontana, but constructed by Luigi Poletti in 1834.
The complex knew its apex in the beginning of the 19th century. It had a 335m facade, was 80m deep and stood 25m tall.
After the unification of Italy it was confiscated and given to the city of Rome. Apart from the woman’s prison, all other buildings came into the hands of private people. These did not stay for very long, however, and the complex was abandoned and started deteriorating, until even the roofs collapsed.
There was a turn for the better in 1969, when the complex was bought by the state and a number of offices of the Ministero dei Beni Culturali was housed there.