The complex was founded by Cardinal Egidio Albornoz in 1364 to host Spanish students enrolled in the famous city University. Protected by high walls, the suggestive building is stylistically placed in a transition phase between Gothic and Renaissance.
The coats of arms of the crown of Spain and the founder appear on the corner wall called Casa del Cervantes. The sandstone entrance portal, sculpted by Bernardino da Milano (1525), leads into a beautiful 16th century loggia, which leads, in turn, to the 14th century brick courtyard. Pictorial decorations appear in the Gothic vaulted upper porch, including a Madonna spreading flowers (Madonna che sparge fiori) by Biagio Pupini in a Raphaelesque manner.
The cloister is dominated by the façade of the church of S. Clemente crowned by a bell tower. On the altar there is a polyptych by Marco Zoppo depicting the Vergin with Child and saints (Vergine con Bambino e santi), while there are also fourteenth-century frescoes from the school of Vitale da Bologna and by Andrea de 'Bartoli.