Roman from Rome: the house of Lorenzo Manilius
Written sources give us no information about the life and activity of Lorenzo Manilio: we do not know who he was, nor what he did to live, nor how his family was composed. But one thing is certain: Lorenzo Manilio must have had a great consideration of himself, and an even greater affection for his city. This can be clearly evicted when admiring the small mansion built in 1468, in the very heart of what, in a little over eighty years, would have become the Jewish ghetto of Rome, right along Via del Portico d’Ottavia, at street numbers 1 and 2. On the band running along the entire perimeter of the building, Manilio had the following engraved:
URBE ROMA IN PRISTINAM FORMA(M R)ENASCENTE LAUR MANLIUS KARITATE ERGA PATRI(AM) (A)EDIS SUO NOMINE MANLIANAS PRO FORT(UN)AR(UM) MEDIOCRITATE AD FOR(UM) IUDEOR(UM) SIBI POSTERISQ(UE) SUIS A FUND(AMENTIS) P(OSUIT) AB URB(E) CON(DITA) MMCCXXI L AN(NO) M(ENSE) III D(IE) II P(OSUIT) XI CAL(ENDAS) AUG(USTAS)
that is: “While Rome is reborn to its ancient splendor, Lorenzo Manilio, as a demonstration of love for his city, built from the ground in Piazza Giudea, in proportion with his modest possibilities, this house that from his surname takes the name of Manliana, for himself and his descendants, in the year 2221 from the foundation of Rome, at the age of 50 years, 3 months and 2 days, he founded the house on the eleventh day before the calends of August “.
The date of construction (2221) is indicated “ad urbe condita”, that is starting from the year of the foundation of Rome (753 BC), which brings us back to 1468. The base of the building is embellished with archaeological finds: a fragment of a Roman sarcophagus with three figures, a funerary stele from the Via Appia and another stele, of Greek origin.