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The Palazzo of the Congregazioni and the Casa Professa of the Padri Gesuiti


The church of Gesù Nuovo in the square of that name once formed a very large single complex with the two buildings on either side: one, the former building of the Congregations on the west (photo, right—the "Congregations" is the building on the far right) and, two, the House of Prayer of the Jesuit Fathers, on the east (not seen in this photo). The "Congregations" now houses the Genovesi High School and the House of Prayers houses another school, the "Pimentel Fonseca" Institute. They are both rather inconspicuous because of all the competition. The giant plague column in the middle of the square, the church of Gesù Nuovo, itself, and the church of Santa Chiara all attract our first attention.

The "Congregations" and the House of Prayer were built at the same time as the adjacent church of Gesù Nuovo was being rebuilt into its current configuration (it had earlier been a noble residence)—that is, between 1592 and 1609. The "Congregations" originally housed worship "oratories" for six different groups: the Nobility; Children of Nobles; Women; Merchants; the Borghesi (Middle Class); and Craftsmen. The current high school premises have preserved many of the works of art originally found in the "Congregations," including frescoes by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Lanfranco and Belisario Corenzio. The facade was redone in the 19th century in a neo-Romantic style. (The building is #1 on this map.)


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