Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pacelli's Rome 1

During my study leave I had the opportunity to stay in Rome for about three weeks.  During some free time I walked around Parione where Eugenio Pacelli was born and where he and his family lived for the better part of thirty years.  It is a part of Rome close to Piazza Navona, the great baroque churches of Il Gesu and Chiesa Nuova, a short walk to Piazza di Fiori and the ghetto, and a slightly longer walk across the ponte Umberto I or Sant'Angelo towards the Vatican.  The Rome of Eugenio Pacelli was, and is, a walking city.  

I had done some initial field work in 2000 as I worked towards completion of my doctoral dissertation.  I remain a believer that understanding the geography of a person's life goes a long way to helping understand the contexts in which they lived.  Pacelli lived the first four decades of his life more or less within the confines of the old city of Rome.  He ventured forth for holidays to the family's ancestral hometown of Onano, about two hours drive to the north and after ordination he made several trips on Vatican business.  However it was not until 1917, when he was 42 years old, that he left Rome for his longest time abroad.  

Walking through the narrow and twisting streets of old Rome is always a pleasure and a delight.  I was happy to find that my memory of where particular places were had not dimmed over the years!  As a start to 2014 I would like to share some of these images.  All would have been familiar to Eugenio as a boy and young man, as well as to the man who would become pope.

3 March 1876.

Filippo and Virginia Pacelli lived at 34 via Monte Giordano, known in the 19th century as via degli Orsini.  The apartment block was known as Palazzo Pediconi and the family lived on the third floor between 1871 and 1880.

Eugenio Maria Guiseppe Pacelli was born in his parent's third floor apartment (central floor in the picture above) on 3 March 1876.

Today the apartment is a private home.

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