The Conservatory is one of those institutions that, in 16th-19th century Rome, constituted one of the most significant forms of charitable and welfare offerings, alongside hospitals, confraternities, and shelters. These conservatories were established with the purpose of 'conserving' and safeguarding the virtue of women, providing them with basic literacy, a Christian education, and teaching them a trade.
In this context, in 1668, the Conservatorio della "Santissima Immacolata Concezione di Maria" was established, more commonly known as the "Conservatory delle Viperesche." The founder was Livia Vipereschi, a Roman noblewoman who dedicated her entire life to charitable works and consecrated service.

The Conservatorio, erected on Via di San Vito where it still stands, was built with the financial contributions of distinguished individuals from the Roman context, such as Princess Lucrezia Rospigliosi. The funding from Princess Maria Camilla Orsini Borghese was used to construct the small church attached to the institution. Shortly after its foundation, the Conservatorio was endowed with its initial Constitutions and rules, which outlined an external government consisting of the Vicegerent and four Deputies, as well as an internal government comprising the Mother Superior and the Mistresses. Originally, this establishment provided shelter for unmarried, orphaned, and abandoned girls, mostly hailing from Roman families. Upon the founder's death on December 6, 1673, the young girls became heirs to the founder's estate, with an annual income of 300 scudi, and adopted the name "Viperesche."

Starting from the 18th century, the Conservatorio also hosted "Educande" (students) and "Oblate." The former were girls from prosperous families who were accommodated in exchange for a monthly fee. The "Oblate," on the other hand, were around 10 girls, single or widowed, who chose to remain in the Conservatorio for the rest of their lives. They wore the attire of the Carmelites and were involved in the choir activities.

All the young girls accommodated there devoted themselves to prayer, spiritual exercises, Christian education, study, and domestic and manual work, particularly glove-making.

The increase in the number of girls, the demands of monastic life, and the expansion of artisanal activities led to the need to expand the facility (1760-1762).

Over the years, the Conservatory continued to operate based on its original model until it transformed into the 'Convitto Vipereschi of the Immaculate Conception' in 1869. Under the leadership of the Maestre Pie Venerine, a private nursery school, a recognized primary school, a boarding school for students, and a center for female university students were established. These facilities provided students with room and board, religious and cultural assistance.

The statute drafted in 1876 reaffirmed the purpose of the Conservatory, which was to provide refuge, either for free or at a cost, to young girls as well as widows.

With the restoration in 1930, the building was put in structurally good condition, spaces were reorganized, and it was decided to convert most of the ground floor rooms into shops and warehouses.

The Conservatorio was recognized as an Institute of Public Assistance and Charity (IPAB) by Decree No. 6972 on July 17, 1890.

By resolution of the Regional Council on April 15, 1993, No. 2644, the Conservatorio was recognized as a Foundation, a private legal entity, and therefore removed from the list of IPABs. In the same year, the last Statute was established, outlining governing bodies including the President, the Board of Directors, and the Board of Auditors. The Conservatorio's purpose is to accommodate university students, thus functioning as a university college. From 1988 to 2017, it was managed by the sisters of the "Congregazione delle Discepole del Redentore" in the Christian Community in the World.

Today, the Conservatory still houses two university educational institutions: the 'Santa Cecilia' Female Theological College since 1988, and, since 2017, the 'Studium Evangelii Gaudium,' driven by the reform of mission studies and academic ecclesiastical studies promoted by Pope Francis.

The same location also houses the archives of the Conservatory, the Vipereschi family archives, as well as the handwritten diaries of Livia Vipereschi. In these diaries, she meticulously recorded the events of her life and her mystical visions on a day-to-day basis.


"S.Cecilia" Female Theological College

Following the significant insights of the Second Vatican Council and in the context of the United Nations' International Women's Year (1975), Pope Paul VI requested the then-Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference and President of the newly established International Study Commission for Women's Advancement, Monsignor Enrico Bartoletti, to provide a strong indication from the Church of Rome regarding the empowerment of women. At that time, Monsignor Bartoletti was also a member of the Episcopal Commission, appointed by the Pope himself, for the high direction of the Collegio Capranica. He sought assistance from Monsignor Franco Gualdrini, the rector of the same Collegio, in determining appropriate ideas and implementing them concretely.
The Capranica College offered "Villa Santa Cecilia," located in Vitinia, a few kilometers from Rome, as a donation from Monsignor Umberto Dionisi, who was also associated with Capranica and the rector of the Basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.
The direction was entrusted to a young student from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Ide Manici, who was recommended by Chiara Lubich, the founder of the "Movimento dei Focolari". Monsignor Gualdrini had directly approached her for this recommendation.
In entrusting the responsibility to the first young leader, Monsignor Bartoletti said: "This is a work of God, and I almost dare to consider it somewhat prophetic, and it seems to me that it can be advantageous for the Church" (I. Manici, Minutes of the Meeting Bartoletti-Manici, 1973, in the "S. Cecilia" Female Theological College Archive).

In the academic year 1974-75, the "Convitto S. Cecilia" was established. This marked the beginning of the cohabitation of the first four girls launched into this significant ecclesiastical and human adventure, under the direct responsibility of their bishops from the Dioceses of Agrigento, Reggio Calabria, Rome, and Trieste.
Soon, more were added to them, and the group grew considerably, welcoming female students from many countries around the world.
Monsignor Gualdrini also provided the young female students with a spiritual assistant, Don Sante De Giorgi.

It was a decisive year for the consolidation of the CTF, thanks to the private audience with Pope John Paul II. Before celebrating the morning Eucharist with the students and other former alumnae, the Polish Pope had words of encouragement for them, outlining the highlights of their academic and ecclesiastical experience (Address to the CTF, November 22, 1982).
Also present at the audience were Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, then President of the Episcopal Commission of the Almo Collegio Capranica and promoter of the meeting; Monsignor Franco Gualdrini, the rector; Monsignor Carlo Caffarra, Dean of the Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, who was then residing at "Villa S. Cecilia"; additionally, the spiritual assistant Don Sante Di Giorgi and the newly appointed head, Dr. Maria Teresa Vaccari; finally, some religious Sisters of Mary Co-Redemptrix, who were providing assistance to pilgrims at "Villa S. Cecilia".

The number of women sent by local Churches continued to increase, reaching 37 individuals in the academic year 1983-1984, coming from Dioceses across the 5 continents.
Meanwhile, there is also a rotation in the leadership of the CTF, transitioning from Dr. Maria Teresa Vaccari (1982-1986), who was now involved with the Pontifical Mission Societies, to former students Caterina Ferlito (1986-1987) and Elisabetta Biguzzi (1987-1988).

The residence in Vitinia proves to be inconvenient given the academic commitments concentrated in the center of Rome. In 1988, the rector of the Capranica College, Monsignor Luciano Pacomio, who succeeded Monsignor Gualdrini (elected Bishop of Terni in 1983), works to relocate the CTF to the "Santissima Concezione," also known as "delle Viperesche" Conservatory, a women's university college near Termini Station, situated between the Basilicas of San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore.
The Episcopal Commission of the Capranica College commits to providing financial support to the students by awarding scholarships, which would help cover at least a portion of their food and accommodation expenses.
At the same time, they entrust the responsibility to Sister Gisella Lupo, a former student who became a nun in the religious Institute "Discepole del Redentore" of the Diocese of Agrigento.
The religious Institute will hold the leadership position for almost 30 years (until 2017).

On the occasion of the 20th and 25th anniversaries (1995 and 2000) and due to the presence of enthusiastic students who were deeply rooted in the original charism of CTF and highly motivated academically, a meeting was held with Cardinal Camillo Ruini. At that time, he was the Vicar of the Pope for the Diocese of Rome and the Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference (as well as a member of Capranica). During this meeting, an attempt was made to outline the initial legal identity and the first statute for the organization.

With the change in leadership at Capranica, undertaken by Monsignor Michele Pennisi, in 2002 the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) began providing financial support to CTF as well.
By 2016, there are nearly 300 young women from Dioceses across the five continents who have experienced a sense of communion, prayer, and service during their theological studies in Rome.

In the academic year 2016/17, the premises of the "SS Concezione" College undergo significant renovation works by the Vicariate of Rome, thanks to the active efforts of Monsignor Antonio Interguglielmi and the Board of Directors of the foundation that owns the College.
Under the enlightened guidance of the new rector of Capranica College, Monsignor Ermenegildo Manicardi, the CTF experiences a revitalization in its educational and leadership aspects. The responsibility is entrusted to Professor Elisabetta Casadei, a former student. Alongside the CTF, the "Studium Evangelii Gaudium" is established for young female students and educators who aim to foster dialogue between theological, human, social, and natural sciences.
The two entities share the same lifestyle characterized by communion, a strong commitment to study or profession, service, and prayer.
A sign of this renewal is the change of name from "Convitto S. Cecilia" to "Collegio Teologico S. Cecilia," which better reflects its nature as a university community. Alongside academic formation in Pontifical Universities and Institutes, it offers the opportunity for personal, spiritual, and ecclesial growth in a lay context, with the aim of real integration into the local Church.