3: The number of axial routes Pope Julius II envisioned for 16th-century Rome

Following Giuliano della Rovere’s installation as Pope Julius II in November 1503, he set out on a massive campaign to renovate and beautiful Rome. His plan was comprehensive: from the redecoration of the Papal apartments to the construction of a new Saint Peter’s Basilica, Julius II truly set his sights on renewing the Eternal City. 

As part of this plan, he also aimed to create a a tripartite route through the heart of Rome. Its center was to be the aquatic thoroughfare of the Tiber River that was flanked by the via della Lungara and the via Giulia. Pope Julius II then envisioned that these axial streets would be connected at the southern end by the Ponte Sisto and at the northern end by the planned (but never realized) Ponte Giulia. This bridge, which would have assumed a footprint similar to today’s Ponte Vittorio Emmanuelle II, would have facilitated the connection between the Vatican and via Giulia, which Pope Julius II was also busy transforming into a new administrative center heralded by Bramante’s emerging Palazzo dei Tribunali (also never completed). 

Pope Julius II was not able to complete his overall vision for these three key routes through the center of Rome, but his artistic and architectural support of the city is still celebrated today. In this spirit of support, please consider donating to IAS to encourage both its growth and longevity. Given IAS’ impending thirtieth anniversary, IAS is asking members to consider donations in permutations of 3 and/or 30.  Whether that means a donation of $3 or $300, be certain that any donation goes far in supporting IAS’s mission, programs, fellowships, charitable activities, and publications. 

In addition, it is a great time to join or renew your IAS membership (all current memberships expire on 31 December of this year). Please encourage non-members (colleagues, friends, aficionados) working on or appreciative of Italian art, architecture, and visual culture across all media, periods, and career paths to join the IAS.  

Detail of Tiber and Flanking streets of the via Giulia and via della Lungara, from Antonio Tempesta’s Plan of the City of Rome (1645). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II, 1511. National Gallery, London. 

Map reflecting Julius II’s principle civic projects, including Saint Peter’s Basilica (A), the Cortile del Belvedere (B), via della Lungara ©, and via Giulia (D). Image courtesy of: Nicholas Temple, Renovatio Urbis (NY: Rutledge, 2011), 46. 

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