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San Giovanni Decollato
San Giovanni Decollato
Located in the historical centre of Rome, a short distance from the Bocca della Verità and the Campidoglio, the structure comprises a church, oratory, cloister and other buildings. These include the Historical Archive, the Library and the Historical Chamber, which houses numerous relics used in the service of comforting those condemned to death. These objects include a basket to hold the head of the condemned man, a knife to cut the ropes, ornate tablets on both sides and a kneeling-stool presumably used to comfort Beatrice Cenci, who was executed on 11 September 1599. The complex is also decorated with works by artists such as Giorgio Vasari, Jacopino Del Conte, Francesco Salviati, Jacopo Zucchi, Pirro Ligorio and Pomarancio, and representing one of the most important Mannerist decorative cycles of the mid-16th century. At that time, the work on the factory of San Giovanni Decollato was entrusted to the brother Giovanni Battista da Sangallo, who also edited the transcription of Vitruvius' De Architectura, which is now kept in the Historical Archives together with more than 2000 documents, such as loose papers, files and parchments, which, together, testify to the activity of the Partnership since its origins. The Arciconfraternita di San Giovanni Decollato, also known as the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia, was the first lay confraternity of Florentine origin to provide comfort and spiritual assistance to those condemned to death in Rome. Formalised by papal bill in 1490 by Pope Innocent VIII, it then received from Pope Paul III the privilege of releasing one condemned prisoner per year. In order to carry out their service in the best possible way, the brethren were offered the church Santa Maria della Fossa on the slopes of the Capitol by Pope Innocent VIII, with the obligation to rebuild it. Members of the Arciconfraternita include such distinguished gentlemen as Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giorgio Vasari and Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, as well as Pope Clement VIII, Pope Urban VIII and Pope Clement XII. At present, due to ongoing restoration work, access to the structure is not allowed for visits.