Almo Collegio Capranica

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Madonna with child and saints by Antoniazzo Romano, Chapel, Almo Collegio Capranica
Personal coat of arms of Cardinal Domenico Capranica, now coat of arms of the Almo Collegio Capranica

The Almo Collegio Capranica is the oldest Roman college, founded in 1457 by Cardinal Domenico Capranica in his own palace for 31 young clerics, who received an education suitable for the formation of good priests. Capranica himself drew up their rules and presented the college with his own library, the more valuable portion of which was later transferred to the Vatican. The cardinal's brother, Angelo Capranica, erected opposite his own palace a suitable house for the students.

When the Constable de Bourbon laid siege to Rome in 1527, the Capranica students were among the few defenders of the Porta di S. Spirito, and all of them with their rector fell at the breach. The rector, according to the university custom of those days, was elected by the students and was always one of them. Pope Alexander VII decided that the rector should be appointed by the protectors of the college.

After the French Revolution, the college was re-established in 1807; the number of free students was reduced to 13, but paying students were admitted. Currently, the college has over 50 students.

The Capranica has produced many notable ecclesiastics, including among its alumni Popes Benedict XV and Pius XII, and numerous cardinals.


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