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Ignatian Rome: Collegio Romano

Location: Piazza del Collegio Romano

The building now belongs to the government and houses a public school. Visitors can get a good view into the courtyard and see remnants of the astronomy observatory on the school's roof from the walkway leading into the old novitiate which is accessible via an elevator located in the sacristy of the Church of Saint Ignatius. Permission to use the elevator is given by the sacristan.
Ignatius himself founded the Collegio Romano as a seminary for Jesuit students of all nations. The school started in early 1551 in rented rooms at the Campidoglio end of Via Aracoeli but quickly outgrew that spot and moved several times until Pius IV in 1560 persuaded the Marchesa Vittoria della Tolfa, sister of the late paul IV, to donate her palazzo and adjoining property to the Society of Jesus. The palazzo was located on the site of the present Church of S. Ignazio.
Lay students and non-Jesuit seminarians were admitted to the school and strained the facilities of the college until Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 expropriated an entire neighborhood and then paid for the construction of the edifice. He ordered builders to use fired-brick walls instead of simple rubble walls that were more common but less durable.
Saint Robert Bellarmine was rector of the college at the end of the 16th century. Among the Jesuits who lived here during their studies were Aloysius Gonzaga, John Berchmans and Anthony Baldinucci. Their rooms and the chapel of the vows are on the top floor.<