Santa Caterina dei Funari

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Santa Caterina dei Funari is a 16th century confraternity and former convent church located in the rione Sant'Angelo. The dedication is to St Catherine of Alexandria, martyr of the fourth century, decapitated after resisting to starvation and the crushing with a toothed wheel. The modern name Funari literally means "ropemakers", but it might be the name belonged to a landowning family instead.

For reference, a plan of the church is available here.


The earliest reference to a church on the site is in a papal bull of Celestine III of 1192. Pope Paul III granted the complex to St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, in 1536. The saint wished to open a shelter here for poor maidens, who were described as the still virgin daughters of prostitutes. The Confraternita delle Vergini Miserabili di Santa Caterina della Rosa was chartered in 1536 or 1549.

In 1560 a complete rebuilding of the complex was undertaken. The cost was underwritten by Cardinal Federico Cesi, the confraternity’s first Cardinal Protector, and the architect was Guidetto Guidetti, one of Michelangelo's apprentices. The work was completed in 1564, resulting in an attractive late Renaissance (tardo rinascimento) church with hints of the future Baroque style. The new church was consecrated on Sunday 18 November 1565 and that Pius IV granted numerous indulgences on that occasion.

There have been few serious additions or restorations to the church since its construction, which makes it a valuable example of the style and artistic ambience of its period. It retains its original coloring and decorative layout.

Related Links: Roman Churches Wiki
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Location: 41° 53' 38"N 12° 28' 43"E

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