The church of Santa Maria della Scala located in the homonymous square of Trastevere was erected on the orders of Pope Clement VIII in 1593, on a project by Francesco Capriani da Volterra. All this goes back to a miracle occurred while a midwife named Cornelia with an almost dead child in her arms prayed under the stairs of a house where the image of the Madonna was present. The child suddenly started crying. The miracle was cried out and the news spread rapidly throughout the city so that the Pope decided to build a church later granted to the Italian barefoot Carmelites who had been made independent of the Spanish branch by the bull of March 1597. The Discalced Carmelites are born with the reform introduced in 1562 by Mother Teresa of Jesus in the monastery of Avila in Spain for the nuns of the convent, reform then extended to the male branch of the friars who came to oppose the Carmelites shod.

Old phoptography of the sales room of the Farmacia di S. Maria della Scala – basically unchanged since the 1700s and finally closed as a business in 1954.


The friars taken possession of the church began at the beginning of 1600 the construction of the convent which is the first of the order. Actually very large made of two cloisters.

On the first floor of the convent stands the Spezieria, the oldest pharmacy in Rome. It was born to the use and consumption of the friars who elaborated the herbs of the attached garden, only in the seventeenth century it was open to the public and became so famous as to be frequented by rulers, cardinals and by the doctors of the pontiffs. The Pope established in the Papal States a special health police (the equivalent of the NAS of the current era) who had to verify that the rules of preparation and the classic recipes of the Galenic pharmacopoeia were in the respected laboratories. So much was the success that in short it was called “Pharmacy of the Popes” and the friars were exempt from paying taxes. Gregory XVI to make the pharmacy more prestigious instituted the freshmen: the high for chief-speziali and the low for the young and the subordinates
From 1600 the opening to the public with the preparation of galenic products continued until 1954. After this date an Indian community of Discalced Carmelites was established, which allowed the locals to return to life. During the Roman Republic of 1849 the convent spaces were used as a hospital. Luciano Manara also died there. In 1875, after the unification of Italy, the convent was requisitioned by the Ministry of the Interior and partly transformed into a barracks. The friars currently hold a small part.

The Spezieria (Pharmacy)
At the entrance, in the atrium a large painting depicts the Basilio della Concezione, a famous eighteenth-century pharmacist, inventor of famous medicines such as water against hysteria based on lemon balm and anti-pestilential water. The water of the Scala is still famous, considered antinevralgica lavender also indicated for the diseases of the upper respiratory tract, for rheumatic pains and allergies, and the water of the Samaritan woman, used as a disinfectant.
In the visit he hits the large vase of Theriaca (photo n. 12), containing a drug invented by the physician of Nero, Andromachus the Elder. It is a complex of 57 different substances including male viper meat, considered an excellent antidote against poisonous substances.
The wardrobes show painted images of the fathers of medicine such as Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, Mitridate and Andromaco as well as paintings depicting famous guests including Vittorio Emanuele I.

The eras follow each other in the furnishings: the galenic laboratory and the mill are from the seventeenth century, while the following century are colored majolica, vases, scales, distillation stills, mortars, furniture, shelving, windows and the counter. Nineteenth century the liquor laboratory. Also interesting is an amplified telephone (photo No. 3) and the recipe matrix (photo n. 11) that went inked each time before placing it on the sheet.
Also interesting is a room for the manufacture of pills all controlled by electricity, belts, gears and rollers.

Yet another place was used for the manufacture of liqueurs.


Avatar photo

By Osvaldo Sponzilli

With a medicine degree he has transferred the photographic experience in the medical field with scientific photography and iridology. The passion for the color in the photo will take him to the medical field to study the use of the wavelengths of light therapy with the publication of specialized texts in general medicine and anti-aging medicine. It comes the passion for aesthetics in medicine and for the visual arts. He studied computer graphics and web designer at IED in Rome. He will take part in courses and digital photography workshops and corresponding publisher O'Reilly and Press Photographer of the GNS PRESS. The same passion is transmitted to the two daughters, Laura and Jade. The first will graduate in photography at IED and will work with the well-known Roman photographer Giampiero Medori in the still-life, devoting himself to freelance sports photography and weddings and then enter in the staff of post advertising production of EDI (Digital Effects Italian). The second will be dedicated to photography and cinematography.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rome Central Mag
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Privacy Policy

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site or place an order. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address or mailing address.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information. We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be kept on file for more than 60 days.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business. If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders by contacting customer service. Google Analytics We use Google Analytics on our sites for anonymous reporting of site usage and for advertising on the site. If you would like to opt-out of Google Analytics monitoring your behaviour on our sites please use this link (

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


The minimum information we need to register you is your name, email address and a password. We will ask you more questions for different services, including sales promotions. Unless we say otherwise, you have to answer all the registration questions. We may also ask some other, voluntary questions during registration for certain services (for example, professional networks) so we can gain a clearer understanding of who you are. This also allows us to personalise services for you. To assist us in our marketing, in addition to the data that you provide to us if you register, we may also obtain data from trusted third parties to help us understand what you might be interested in. This ‘profiling’ information is produced from a variety of sources, including publicly available data (such as the electoral roll) or from sources such as surveys and polls where you have given your permission for your data to be shared. You can choose not to have such data shared with the Guardian from these sources by logging into your account and changing the settings in the privacy section. After you have registered, and with your permission, we may send you emails we think may interest you. Newsletters may be personalised based on what you have been reading on At any time you can decide not to receive these emails and will be able to ‘unsubscribe’. Logging in using social networking credentials If you log-in to our sites using a Facebook log-in, you are granting permission to Facebook to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth and location which will then be used to form a Guardian identity. You can also use your picture from Facebook as part of your profile. This will also allow us and Facebook to share your, networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Facebook account settings. If you remove the Guardian app from your Facebook settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a Google log-in, you grant permission to Google to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth, sex and location which we will then use to form a Guardian identity. You may use your picture from Google as part of your profile. This also allows us to share your networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Google account settings. If you remove the Guardian from your Google settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a twitter log-in, we receive your avatar (the small picture that appears next to your tweets) and twitter username.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Updating your personal information

We offer a ‘My details’ page (also known as Dashboard), where you can update your personal information at any time, and change your marketing preferences. You can get to this page from most pages on the site – simply click on the ‘My details’ link at the top of the screen when you are signed in.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.
Save settings
Cookies settings