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Cappella del Casale della Falcognana di Sopra

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Cappella del Casale della Falcognana di Sopra is a 17th century farmstead chapel located at Via Ardeatina 1491 south of the hamlet of Falcognana. The area is entirely rural, and is part of the Castel di Leva zone.

A confusion Edit

Do not confuse this chapel with Santa Maria ad Magos, which is nearby as the crow flies. This is in a completely separate farmstead, which has been called Casale della Falcognana di Sotto.

References to Casale della Falcognana online and in print are almost invariably to Sopra, but there seems to be serious confusion in the sources as to which is which.

History Edit

There are suggestions that the Sopra farmstead is on the site of an ancient Roman villa, because ruins including carved stonework were reported hereabouts in the earlier 19th century by Antonio Nibby. Nothing seems to be visible now.

The estate of Falcognana, which was enormous and included both Casali as well as other farmsteads, is on record as passing from the monastery of Santa Maria Nova (Santa Francesca Romana) to that of San Sisto Vecchio in 1395. The latter quickly sold it on to private individuals, but it seems that fabric of this period is to be found in the present buildings (bearing in mind the confusion referred to above). The estate was subdivided, initially into three and was owned by various noble Roman families.

The suburb of Falcognana, north of the Casali (and lacking its own church) was developed in the early Fifties.

The complex at Sopra ceased to be a working farmstead in the later 20th century. It is now a luxury hotel and restaurant, which is popular for weddings.

The chapel is in the parish of Santa Maria del Divino Amore a Castel di Leva, but is not now listed as a public Mass centre. The proprietors of the hotel use a hall in the main building for wedding ceremonies, and it is unclear as to whether the chapel is still consecrated. It does not feature on the hotel website.

Appearance Edit

The farmstead comprises three wings, separate from each other and forming three sides of a rectangle. The open side faces the driveway, and the right hand wing houses the chapel. The far, transverse wing is the main hotel, a rather neat edifice which looks 17th century. The right hand wing is irregularly built and roofed, and contains the chapel.

The chapel itself is at the bottom end of this right hand wing, with its façade facing down the driveway. It also faces the hotel swimming pool to the right as you drive in, so you will pass it if you are a guest and want a swim.

The plan is a simple rectangle. The fabric is in brick, with a pitched and tiled roof. Attached to the right is the priest's house, of two storeys and with a single-pitched roof slightly lower than the chapel roof on that side. A transverse internal load-bearing wall within the house holds up a bell-cote or campanile for a single bell.

There is a simple Baroque façade, having four Doric pilasters which support an entablature and a triangular pediment containing a small oeil-de-boeuf window in its recessed tympanum. There is a vertical rectangular window below the entablature, and two small windows near the ground flanking the single doorway. The capitals of the pilasters break the entablature's architrave, which is continued vertically down the pilaster sides to frame the wall sections in between them.

The architectural details of the façade are in ochre-yellow on an orange background. The entablature frieze is also in orange. The latest photos of the chapel show the paintwork to be in bad condition.

External links Edit

Hotel website

Info.roma web-page

"Location Matrimonio" web-page (Eleventh photo in gallery.)

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