Santa Maria and San Gallicano Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza di Santa Rufina, 10 – Rome. Phone: +39 06 585431. The church is closed. In order to visit you need to call the above number and get permission from the manager of the hospital.
History and description
The Chiesa di Santa Maria e San Gallicano was built by orders of Pope Benedict XIII. It is dedicated to a 4th century Roman saint who had served as a Consul under the Emperor Costantino, but was later converted to Christianity and moved to Ostia in order to give assistance to the sick. He died a martyr’s death by the hands of the Emperor Julianus Apostata, who had been responsible for a brief return to the ancient Roman Gods after there had been a positive period for Christianity during the reign of his predecessor Constantine the Great.
The church was constructed by the architect Filippo Raguzzini in 1729 in order to support the hospital. It was built in an open space behind the Chiesa di San Crisogono. After its construction had been completed the hospital belonging to the nearby San Benedetto in Piscinula was closed. In those days the San Gallicano hospital was considered an architectural masterpiece. Its structure was kept unchanged during later reconstructions.
A Papal ordinance decided that the possessions of Romans who had died without a will and without next of kin were to go to the San Gallicano hospital.
The church can be found in the central part of the complex, separating the men’s and women’s wards. Later reconstructions added a boy’s ward, a pharmacy and two churchyards for people who had died in the hospital. These churchyards were closed after the big Verano cemetery along the Via Tiburtina in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood was opened.
One of the most interesting aspects of the church is the presence of a number of side windows that allowed the hospital’s patients to attend Mass from their beds.
Part of the hospital (Dermatology) is still in function, but most wards have been moved to hospitals outside of the city center.