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Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, Rome

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This institution was commissioned by Pope Paul III in order to defend private citizens from usury. The building was supplied for this purpose in 1603, and the institution moved there from its previous offices in Via dei Coronari. Refurbishment was performed by Carlo Maderno who also built the chapel. The façade of the building includes, between the two portals, a fountain bearing the emblem of Pope Paul V while, between the first floor windows, there is a niche containing a Pietà with, on each side, the emblems of Paul III and Clement VIII. The chapel is beautiful and worth a visit. Oval in shape, it is lined with green and dark yellow marble, while the niches present bas-relief work in white marble. On the altar there is a bas-relief by Domenico Guidi depicting the Pietà: clearly the sculptor was greatly inspired by the more famous Pietà by Michelangelo, done in 1499.