Some of the Scots College community recently sampled some of the cultural and historical offerings of Rome with a visit to the Quirinale Palace.
Living in the Eternal City brings with it some remarkable opportunities to enjoy the rich history and culture of the Italian capital, and of course, the city holds a long history for the Scots College. On Saturday 25th February both came together with a group of the college community visited the old Scots College building on Via delle Quattro Fontane in the city centre, close to Piazza Barberini.
Now the offices for a law firm, the group met with one of the partners of the firm, Paolo Quattrocchi who joined the Scots group for Mass in the former chapel. Fr. Mark Cassidy, the current Spiritual Director, who will leave the college in the summer to return to parish life in Scotland, presided at Mass and spoke of the importance of visiting a large part of college history, not out of a sense of nostalgia but to complete a good Christian act, to remember, to give thanks and to pray for all those who are part of the Scots College history.
Fr. Cassidy urged todays college community not only to remember their predecessors but to also remember themselves, that as successors of the centuries of young men who studied in Rome, we too can return to our home nations and serve the Mission faithfully.
Following Mass the group were given a quick tour around the old building along with the chance to take in the unique view the old building has of Rome.
With the tour completed at the old College, the group wandered the 10 minutes to the Italian Presidential Palace on the Quirinale Hill. There, the splendour of the former summer apartments of the Pope. The building, the ninth largest palace in the world, housed 30 Popes, 4 Italian Kings and 12 Presidents. Dating back to Gregory XIII who commissioned the first phase of building in the 1580’s the palace was extended in different stages until Paul V oversaw the completion of the project in the early 1600’s. The palace, which held four conclaves in the 19th century, was the centre point of the Papal States until they fell in 1871. The building then became home for the Savoy family who ruled as monarchs until that was abolished in 1946.
Since then it has been the home and workplace of the Italian president.
The building is noted for the artistic and architectural treasures it contains with many of the top Italian designers of their generation involved in the construction and decoration of the vast complex. Names include Borromini, who along with Maderno, designed the iconic Torre dei venti, Tower of winds. Bernini added the balcony that overlooks the piazza and is above the main entrance that he also designed.