Cappella dei Comboniani is a mid 20th century private convent chapel at Via Luigi Lilio 80, in the Ardeatino quarter. It is a former parish church.
The chapel is part of a convent of the Comboni Missionaries (Missionarii Comboniani Cordis Iesu), who have established their headquarters here. They had been founded by St Daniel Comboni of Verona in 1867, principally for missionary work in Africa.
The complex was opened in 1963, when the Missionaries at Rome moved from their previous base at San Luigi Gonzaga. It now comprises the Generalate of the Order, which was moved from Verona in 1965.
In 1968, the chapel became a parish church when the parish of Sant'Alberto alle Tre Fontane was set up. This, however, only lasted fifteen years before being suppressed.
Layout and fabric Edit
Despite being a purely private chapel, this edifice has the dimensions and proportions of a full-sized church because of the abortive intention that it should be parochial.
The plan is basilical, having an integral nave and sanctuary with aisles (no separate transept or apse). The total number of bays is nine, under one roof.
The fabric consists of a reinforced concrete frame, with red brick infill. The left hand aisle elevation is taken up by expanses of window, separated by concrete piers supporting a roofline beam. However, the right hand one abuts conventual buildings.
The roof design is based on a mansard, but the aisle pitches are replaced by shallower-pitched roof sections over each aisle bay which are separated by triangular concrete struts and slope up to windows inserted under the central nave pitch. At the junction between the sixth and seventh bay is placed a low lantern, rectangular in plan, which bears a flèche or small spire. The roof throughout is pitched in a grey composition.
The façade has a shallow midpoint angle, with its two halves sloping back from the major axis. Since this is a private chapel, it does not contain an external entrance -the way in is via the convent.
The frontage displays the pitching of the mansard roof behind it. It is divided into seventeen vertical zones in red brick, separated by thin recessed concrete pilasters. The central zone is occupied by a large stained glass window in a recessed concrete frame, having a V-shaped top with a shallower angle than the gable above it. This window is fronted by a thin cross in white.
A bronze statue of St Daniel Comboni is located in a small garden in front of the façade.
The chapel and convent are private, but there is a good view of the former from the street.