Santa Caterina dei Funari

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Santa Caterina dei Funari (St Catherine's of the Ropemakers) 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 name refers to the trade that was in this area during the Middle Ages.

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, which mentions a group of nobles named Gratian, Gregory, Lady Rose (Domina Rosa) and Imilla who founded a nunnery here at the start of the 11th century.

Pope Paul III granted the complex to St Ignatius Loyola in 1536 who wished to open a shelter here for poor maidens, who were described as the still virgin daughters of prostitutes. This became the Confraternita delle Vergini Miserabili di Santa Caterina della Rosa.

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. The new church was consecrated on Sunday 18 November 1565. There have been few serious additions or restorations to the church since its erection.

Related Links: Roman Churches Wiki
Romapedia blog

Location: 41° 53' 38"N 12° 28' 43"E

Detailed information

Church #086/42
Copyright Skip Conde 2012-2020