The Shrine of the House of Saint Catherine

Portico dei Comuni

This portico was created after Catherine was proclaimed Patron Saint of Italy on 19 June 1939, when it was decided to enlarge the entrance to the shrine by tearing down the church of Sant’Antonio in order to facilitate the passage of pilgrims and tourists who came to visit the sites of the Saint’s presence.

Every Municipality (Comune in Italian) in Italy contributed the cost of one brick for its construction, hence the name, which means the “Portico of the Municipalities.” Work began in 1941 but was interrupted by the events of World War II; it was finished in 1947.

The only ancient element left in this area is the very fine travertine well, on the right, datable between the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century.

Under the portico are the busts of the Popes whose papacy was connected with Saint Catherine: Pius II, the Sienese Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who presided over her canonization on 29 June 1461; Pius IX, who proclaimed her Co-Patron Saint of Rome for having brought the seat of the papacy back to Rome from Avignon; Pius XII, who made her a Patron Saint of Italy on 19 June 1939; John XXIII, who in 1961, on the five-hundredth anniversary of her canonization, urged all Christians to celebrate her; Paul VI, who proclaimed her a Doctor of the Universal Church in 1970, “considering the distinguished holiness of her life, her outstanding . . .

  • The Portico of the Municipalities.
  • The Portico of the Municipalities.