The Via della Conciliazione (rione: Borgo) in Rome is not a very long street (about 500m). It is however very important, since it connects the Castel Sant’Angelo to Saint Peter’s Square and the Vatican City.
Via della Conciliazione Rome
History and description
The Via della Conciliazione, constructed between 1936 and 1950, is a fairly new addition to the street plan of Rome. Inevitably, it is characterized by many souvenir shops, but also by a number of buildings of both religious and historical significance, like the Palazzo Torlonia, the Palazzo dei Convertendi and the Palazzo dei Penitenzieri.
There are also two churches along the Via della Conciliazione, the Santa Maria in Traspontina and the Santo Spirito in Sassia.
Originally the area was a maze of alleys, just like the rest of the central part of Rome. In the course of the centuries several plans had been drawn up trying to create a connection between the Vatican City and the center.
The plans were always deemed too costly and, after Gian Lorenzo Bernini had created Saint Peter’s Square, it was decided to use the relative dilapidation of the area and its obscuring the view of the Vatican City to a rather selfish effect: The magnificence of the Basilica of Saint Peter would be even more striking after the pilgrim had had to walk through the poorly maintained Borgo area first.
After Italy became a kingdom, the Pope refused to leave the Vatican, hereby indicating the Catholic church’s refusal to accept the authority of the Italian government over the city of Rome. In 1929 a compromise was reached and the Lateran Treaty was signed. The Via della Conciliazione was then constructed to symbolize the piece between the church and the Italian State.
Work was started in 1936. It was Mussolini himself who struck the first building with a pick-axe. It is not a surprise that many ordinary Romans were forced to leave their dwellings and move to settlements outside of the city center (which came to be called borgate), since even important buildings were either destroyed completely or dismantled and rebuilt in other locations.
Construction of the Via della Conciliazione was not finished until long after the fall of fascism and the end of World War II.
The Auditorium Conciliazione (also known as Auditorium Pius VII) is situated on the Via Consiliazione, 4.