A book about the dominican monastery known as "Insula Sapientiae" which, thanks to a special photographic campaign by massimo listri reveals interiors, otherwise inaccessible.
In the 8th century, there was an oratory dedicated to the Virgin here with the place-name of ‘Minervum’. In 1275, it was incorporated into a Dominican monastery known as the Insula Sapientiae (meaning ‘Island of Wisdom’). Having gradually grown in size during the 14th century, in the modern era, the monastery became the headquarters of the highest ranks of the Dominican Order (the Master General and the Procurator General). From the architectural point of view, it was built around two cloisters: the Guidetti Cloister, adjacent to the church, and the Cloister of the Cistern, built in the late 15th century using columns from Ancient Roman buildings. In the late 16th century, the monastery was enlarged again and beautifully decorated. Above the Cloister of the Cistern, by building vertically, they created an apartment for the Master General, a large room destined for use as a library and a series of state apartments, now known as the “Galileo Rooms” and belonging to the library of the Chamber of Deputies. In the early 18th century, the Casanate Library was added to the monastic complex, which the Dominicans managed but did not own. The first nucleus of the library was a legacy, the collection donated by Cardinal Girolamo Casanate (1620-1700), consisting of approximately 25,000 books. When Rome was occupied by Napoleon (1808-1814), the monastery was used as a barracks. After 1870, it was permanently taken over by the Italian State and used as the headquarters of the Post Office and the Ministry of Education. Now the area houses the library of the Chamber of Deputies, the library of the Senate and a community of Dominican friars, who have managed to re-acquire part of the original monastery.