The Oratorio del Caravita is located just off the Via del Corso in the historical center of Rome. It used to also be called the Oratorio della Santissima Comunione Generale (“Oratorium of the Holy General Communion”).
Oratorio del Caravita Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via del Caravita, 7 – Rome (tel +39 06 6794560). Opening hours: The church is only open on Sundays, to celebrate mass.
History and description
Construction of the Oratorio was started in 1630 by the Jesuit priest Pietro Gravita. The money was mostly put up by the wealthy nobility that lived in the area. It was constructed on the remains of the 12th century Church of San Nicola de Forbitoribus, (referring to the Confraternity of the Forbiciai, or “knife-makers and -salesmen”, in the area).
In 1551, Pope Julius III gave the church to the Benedictine monks and in 1631 the Jesuits, who already had their Collegio Romano across the road, acquired the oratorio.
It is dedicated to Santa Maria della Pietà and to San Francesco Saverio (Saint Francis Xavier). The name “Caravita“, a mispronunciation of the founder’s name, came into usage after the death of Gravita in 1658.
Between 1670 and 1677 the church was completely restored, probably by the architect Giovanni Antonio de Rossi.
The facade of the church is characterized by an entrance surmounted by a triangular tympanum between two windows. The interior is open, with the typically Jesuit clear sight lines to the altar.
The second floor, occupied by the Jesuit Community, has 3 windows.
The interior of the Oratorio del Caravita was restored in the 19th century.
Works of art in the Oratorio del Caravita
- To the right near the entrance to the Sacristy, kept in a silver reliquary, there is a relic of Saint Francis Xavier.
- The atrium preceding the nave has a vault with frescoes by Lazzaro Baldi, representing “Scenes from the Life of San Francesco Saverio”.
- Baldassarre Peruzzi made the fresco near the organ to the left of the sanctuary.Â Formerly in the Church of San Rocco all’Augusteo it was donated the oratorium in 1677.
- The two fonts in the Atrium are made in the form of a crab holding a bronze crucifix, a symbol of Francis Xavier.
- The Ristretto degli Angeli is a room above the Atrium and has stucco decorations by Giovanni Battista Maini (1746).
- The organ upstairs in the Gallery was built in 1790 by the famous Priori family.