The cloistered spaces during the period of the Ursulines
In the period of the Ursulines a large part of the Monastery was only accessible to the nuns because they belonged to a cloistered order. The cloistered areas of the Monastery are particularly striking, with the nuns’ private rooms that remained inaccessible to public use for centuries. Small cells were located in the broad corridors along the west wing, while on the south side of the cloister the cells were on the upper floors of the building. The church of San Giovanni continued to play a central role as the fulcrum of a complex system of paths linked to everyday monastic life. On the ground floor of the church, on the north side, is the room of the most holy communion, connected to the church by an imposing gilded wrought iron grille. An impressive matroneum on the first floor runs along the north side of the church and allows the nuns to access a small confessional located near the apse of the church which the confessor could reach without entering the cloistered areas. The matroneum is connected to the church by finely decorated wooden gratings, to conceal from outsiders the life of the nuns, who could gather here to pray. Fascinating views of the nave of the church can be admired from here, and also from the nuns’ choir gallery on the inner façade of San Giovanni. The choir was built after the late seventeenth-century alterations to the Church and replaces the older one which was located in the main body of the Oratory of Santa Maria in Valle (the Longobard Temple) where it had been placed at the end of the 14th century. From the choir we can see the inside of the Church after the late seventeenth-century alterations which resulted in the raising of the Church and the new internal layout. On the second floor, also on the north side of San Giovanni, are two chapels with altars lit by light from above; one is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, the other to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
- Room of the Most Holy Communion
- Internal view of the church of San Giovanni
- Nuns’ choir
- Chapel of the Blessed Virgin
- Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus