Sala dello Stenditoio
Complesso Monumentale San Michele a Ripa Grande
Via San Michele 22
Rome, Italy

This year’s meeting is being held at the Sala dello Stenditoio, a conference facility that is part of a Monumental Complex built in the 1600’s and secluded from the streets of Rome. It is centrally located in the historical Trastevere district, which is a beautiful part of Rome with plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and cafes.

The Monumental Complex of San Michele at Ripa Grande was founded in 1686 as the Apostolic Institute of St. Michael during the pontificate of Innocence XI Odescalchi, but was not finished until 1834. The Great Church, or Chiesa Grande, designed by Carlo Fontana in 1706, is the geometrical fulcrum of the complex. The original project was in the form of a perfect Greek cross to allow all the inmates to take part in the religious functions.

The Apostolic Institute, which housed in separate buildings poor spinsters and the elderly as well as needy children and orphans, was considered a model for the organization of social services in Europe. In addition to caring for and correcting the weakest members of society, the education of inmates was also provided. Thus, a School of Arts and Crafts was founded, also a factory which flourished until 1870, a wool mill founded in 1703, a tapestry workshop, a printers and a School for Liberal Arts, which produced some artists of note.

Historic Trastevere District
Trastevere is the Italian form of the Latin expression trans Tiberim, or "beyond the Tiber." This was the first inhabited area on the western side of the river. In ancient Rome this was the neighborhood of the Syrian community and, later on, of the Jewish community.

During the early Middle Age, Rome's population decreased considerably and this area was left deserted. In fact, when in the mid -12th century Rome's administrators agreed to the boundaries of twelve newborn districts, Trastevere was not included among them. It re-entered the urban context two centuries later, when its land was once again quite extensively inhabited.

Thanks to its partial isolation (it was "beyond the Tiber") and to its multicultural environment since the ancient Roman period, the inhabitants of Trastevere, called "trasteverini", were considered almost a population of its own: they were people of known tenaciousness, pride and genuineness. Moreover the women from Trastevere were considered to be very beautiful.

Today, the Trastevere is extremely popular with both Romans and tourists because it is one of the more authentic and characteristic districts of Rome. During the day it mostly has the busy look of any small Italian town, with people shopping, chatting, drinking their espresso, and holding the hands of their children. In the evening it is thronged with people walking around and eating in the many fashionable restaurants, clubs and cafes.

Bring good walking shoes because the pleasures of visiting this and the neighboring areas on foot are worth the effort. The Janiculum Hill offers one of the most beautiful views of Rome!