Via Merulana Rome
Most of the Via Merulana was constructed by order of Pope Gregory XIII for the Jubilee in the year 1575. The last part, near the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, was constructed when Sixtus V was Pope.
The name of the street derives from a field called Campus Meruli, which used to occupy the entire area between the two big basilicas. The owners of this field were a family called Merula.
Starting from the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano the first landmark is the Church of Saint Anthony of Padova. The architect was Luca Carimini, who also constructed the Palazzo Brancaccio in the same street. Construction lasted from 1884 till 1888. The most impressive elements of the facade are the monumental double staircase and the decorations of the central portal.
Almost across the road, on the corner with the Via Labicana, is the Santi Marcellino and Pietro Church, one of the oldest churches of the city. The first version of this church was built in the beginning of the 4th century. An important reconstruction took place in 1751, when the relics of the two saints were placed inside the church. After a reorganization of the entire area the church ended up far below street level.
The Palazzo Merulana is located on the corner with the Via Labicana and is now used as an exhibition space.
The Sant’Alfonso all’Esquilino Church is located on the corner with the Via di San Vito. This neo-Gothic church was constructed by George Wigley in 1859. The Madonna del Perpetuo Soccorso at the high altar was made in the 14th century.
The present street does not follow its original trajectory. It used to start more or less where the present Via Merulana meets the Via Labicana, and continued from to what is now Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II to unite with the old Via Labicana at the Porta Esquilina. This Porta Esquilina is now known as the Arch of Gallienus. The old Via Labicana followed a completely different trajectory from the present one.