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Sacra Famiglia a Via Portuense

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Sacra Famiglia a Via Portuense is a later 20th century parish church at Via Filippo Tajani 10, in the Portuense quarter to the south-west of the Trastevere train station. It is in between the Via Portuense and the railway to Fiumicino. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to the Holy Family.

History Edit

Old church Edit

The parish was founded in 1932, and put into the administration of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Bergamo.

The original church was a simple brick and concrete structure located on the Via Portuense just west of its junction with the Viale di Vigna Pia (hence the name). This had a single nave of seven bays, and an attached rectangular apse incorporated into a sacristy block. The nave side walls had a large recessed blind arch for each bay except the second and sixth, the interior of each arch being rendered in white and containing a round-headed window. The second and sixth bays had semi-circular apsidal chapels instead, each with two little round-headed windows and a semi-conical tiled roof below the main roofline. The main roof was pitched and tiled. The frontage was occupied by a cubical porch, above which was a small round window.

A photo on the parish website is here.

New church Edit

However, the growth of the suburb meant that this edifice became inadequate and it was decided to replace it with a larger building having adequate parochial and social facilities. This was designed by a partnership of Mario Paniconi and Giulio Pediconi, and erected in 1978. The dedication was in 198.

The church is some distance from the Via Portuense, and so is often referred to as Sacra Famiglia al Portuense. However, the Diocese has kept the old name.

In 1987, a campanile was added which was designed by Gian Franco Filacchione.

The old church has been demolished.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric of church Edit

The church has a circular plan, and the very unusual form of a stepped truncated cone. The fabric is in reinforced concrete. The basic frame consists of sixteen massive concrete slab piers arranged radially, and with the lower parts of their narrow outer edges sloping to give the outline of the cone.

The main body or nave of the church is the base of this cone, with a low elevation of two storeys separated by a flat terrace roof forming a step. The piers are incut at the level of the second storey, so as to have vertical outer edges here. The first storey walls are blank concrete, but each of the eight sections of the second storey wall has a horizontal slit window for the entire width. The roof is flat.

However, the sanctuary half of the cone on one side of transverse diameter continues to twice the height, has a flat roof and a vertical wall along the diameter. Hence, this part of the church has four stepped storeys. Nine of the support piers continue up this upper part, two forming the edges of the diameter wall which has six large circular windows in a horizontal line. These two piers have diagonal outer edges, but the other seven are each incut twice in the same way as with the second storey below.

This half of the church has no in its external walls, except for a pair of horizontal slit windows continuing the line in the second storey of the nave.

The main walls of the church are in beige, but the buttresses and diameter wall are in light grey.

External chapels Edit

The church has a Blessed Sacrament chapel as a little attached semi-circular apse with a flat roof, the same height as the first storey and accessed through the wall section first to the left of the far end of the major axis.

The ferial (weekday) chapel occupies the near end of the major axis, and its width takes up a bit more than half of the two sectors flanking the axis here. It is a larger semi-circle, set back in front of a little lobby, and has a quarter-spherical semi-dome with the flat vertical side facing the church.

Ancillary blocks Edit

The single-storey sacristy block occupies the three sectors to the right of the far end of the major axis, and is wrapped round the wall of the church in an arc. From this arc-shaped block, another wing runs off to join onto the ancillary (parochial and social) accommodation. This is housed in another circular edifice of about the same size of floor-plan as the church, and with a vaguely similar design. It has two halves separated by a diameter on the same axis as the connecting wing, one half being a two-storey D-shaped edifice (with a ground-floor basement where the ground slopes away) and the other a three-storey block with a floorplan of half a ring wrapped round a central D-shaped courtyard.

Campanile Edit

There is a stand-alone campanile next to the church on the left hand side, at the end of the transverse diagonal separating the nave and sanctuary. It is made up of steel girders, and is reminiscent of the headstock of a 19th-century coal mine without the winding wheel -although a circular feature formed of thin bars is hanging from it. A photo of what amounts to a piece of public sculpture is here.

Façade Edit

The church is situated well away from the street, and is approached via a pathway through a small park.

The entrance is to the left of the major axis, since the ferial chapel occupies the usual location. There is a flat-roofed porch with solid walls, in front of the second pier to the left. The double doorway is recessed, and has four vertical steps either side which are clad in what looks like green verde antico marble. There is a pillar in the same style separating the two doors.

Over the entrance portal is a majolica relief tondo of The Holy Family.

Interior Edit

The interior walls are in creamy white. However, the flat nave ceiling is in black with small lights, giving a strong impression of a night sky with stars. This ceiling floats into the sanctuary for its first pair of sectors, so that the natural light from the five large round windows in the diameter wall above is focused into the sanctuary instead of straight down.

Over the altar hangs an unusual crucifix, with a traditionally painted corpus on a deep pink panel cross on which are depicted the Symbols of the Evangelists and scenes from the Last Supper. This enjoyable work is by Ennio Tesei 1979.

To the right of the altar is a large neo-Byzantine depiction of The Holy Family by an artist given as "G. F. Filacchione" (who hasn't got an internet presence if the name is correct).

To the left of the altar is the baptismal font, and behind this is an abstract work entitled Ogni giorno rinasco ed è sempre la prima volta 1992. This is by a noted mosaicist, Fernanda Tollemeto.

Further to the left is a 19th century depiction of the Madonna and Child.

The bronze Stations of the Cross are by Paola de Gregorio 2000.

The ferial chapel has Byzantine-style icons by Cesar Hernández, one of the members of the Congregation of the Holy Family.

Access Edit

The church is open daily from 7:00 to 19:30.

Liturgy Edit

Church Edit

According to the Diocese, Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:00, 9:00, 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 18:30.

On Thursdays, there is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 17:00 until Mass, which is followed by Vespers and Benediction.

On First Fridays there is Exposition from 9:30 to 11:00.

On the last Thursday of the month, Exposition is from 21:30 to 23:00 which is especially for young people.

Subsidiary Mass centre Edit

The parish has one external Mass centre:

Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore al Portuense

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian WIkipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

Congregation's website

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