Because of the planning meetings held there, this monastery (convento) and church is the place where the Augustinian Order officially began in its expanded form during March 1256 at what is now known as the Grand Union of the Order.
An important and valuable asset in any medieval priory was its library which, because of the high cost of copying manuscripts, usually consisted of what today would be considered as a surprisingly small number of titles.
In this vein, in 1481 at the library of the Augustinians at Santa Maria del Popolo in
Rome, there were only eight works of Augustine in an impressive library of 603 entries.
Immediately before 1480, the greatest impetus to the increase in the number of its holdings was by the donation of manuscripts and scrolls upon the death of their owners. For example, it received twenty-eight volumes from the library of Baptista Brondus in 1482, sixty-six from Johannes de Cardellis, Bishop of Acragas in Sicily , in 1479, and a massive donation of 212 books from Pope Sixtus IV in 1480.
Photos (at right):
Picture 1 shows the interior side of the Porta del Popolo, a gate in the old Roman wall. Out of view, the Church of S. Maria del Popolo is located on the Roman wall to the immediate right of this photograph.
Picture 2 shows the Piazza del Popolo from the air. The Porta del Popolo is on the extreme left edge of the photo, and the Church of S. Maria del Popolo partly visible beside it, on the extreme left edge of the photo.
Picture 3 shows the Piazza del Popolo at the end of World War II. The Church is at the rear right.
Australian National University. A very comprehensive examination S. Maria del Popolo by by Michael Greenhalgh, MA, PhD, FSA. He is the Sir William Dobell Foundation Professor of Art History at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. There is a floor plan which is of assistance in appreciating the positioning of the works of art. Be sure to look at the wonderful internal panoramic photographs. (Be patient if you have a slow Internet connection.)
Woodcuts of the church and piazza.
For the Augnet photo gallery on the Church of Maria del Popolo, click here.