For centuries, Rome's fish market operated in the ruins of the ancient
Portico d'Ottavia (Portico of Octavia), which explains the presence in the area of the Oratorio di Sant' Andrea dei Pescivendoli (Oratory of St Andrew of the Fishmongers).
In 1571, the Università dei Pescivendoli (Guild of the Fishmongers) took over responsibility for the chapel of St Andrew in the church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria. In 1687 it converted the neighbouring building into an oratory.
The entrance is surmounted by a very fine relief of St Andrew and his saltire (the X-shaped cross). The saint is looking down, somewhat quizzically, at a large fish, which appears to be trying to eat his robe.
The inscription above the door reads LOCVS ORATIONIS VENDITORVM PISCIVM (The place of prayer of the sellers of fish).
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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