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San Bernardino da Siena a Villa Verde is a late 20th century parish church at Via Degas 19, in the Torre Gaia suburban zone. It is in the north part of the suburb of Villa Verde, which is south of the Via Casilina and outside the Circonvallazione Orientale.
The patron saint is St Bernardine.
The parish was erected in 1982. The church was designed by Ernesto Vichi, and completed in 1989.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church has an unusual polygonal plan. The basis for it is a dodecahedron (regular twelve-sided polyhedron), enclosed within the outline of a larger dodecahedron. The three sides of the latter in each transverse cardinal direction are occupied by an extension of the fabric, so that the plan of the church ends up being a dodecahedron with "ears".
The fabric is in reinforced concrete, with the wall surfaces painted white. The inner dodecahedron has twelve simple rectangular concrete piers at its corners, and these support twelve concrete ribs which provide the framework for the conical roof. This has twelve flat sectors in what looks like anodized metal sheeting, and these meet at a central lantern. The latter is a dodecahedronal metal framework drum with its sides occupied by windows, and which is topped by a truncated cone of twelve struts infilled with glass. There is a crowning cross finial.
The two flanking annexes each have four further piers marking the corners, and roof beams sloping up to the lower ends of the main roof beams. The pitch of the roof sections of these two annexes is shallower than that of the main roof.
There is a round-headed window in the wall behind the altar, and the annexes each have six side windows in the shape of a vertical capsule.
The unusual free-standing campanile is to the right of the church. It is in white concrete, and comprises two tall piers with a thin concrete sheet in between. The latter is incut at the top to form the outline of half an elongated octagon, and from this a slot runs down the middle of the sheet to a cut-out circle near the base. A triangular metal frame stands on top of the piers, and the two bells hang from thin metal bars inserted within this and the cut-out half-octagon.
The three sides of the dodecahedron at the front of the church, in between the annexes, are covered by a floating canopy formed by extending the roof in three gables.
The main entrance has a simple round-headed doorway, the doors themselves being in wooden beams enclosing rectangular glass panels. Each near end of the annexes has a side entrance in the same style, but smaller.
The interior is small and very simple -what you see on the outside is what you get on the inside. The walls are in white, and the piers and roof beams are in light grey.
The annexes are screened off as discrete worshipping areas, three in each with the two flanking the altar panelled in wood as devotional chapels.
St Bernardine Edit
The chapel to the left has a good wooden sculpture of St Bernardine. He is shown holding his attribute, which is the monogram of the Name of Jesus in glory -IHS. The "Name of Jesus" is the original Greek one -ΙΗΣΥΣ. The second letter of this is eta, a long "e", and the first three letters became the monogram. (Ignore all bad etymologies based on the mistaken belief that the second letter of this is an "h".)
The church is open daily from 7:30 to 11:30, and 16:00 to 19:00. Beware of the early closure in the morning.
Mass is celebrated:
Saturdays and eves of Solemnities 8:00 and 18:00;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00 18:00.
There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Thursday of the month from 9:00 to 10:00.
The Divine Office is celebrated (except on Saturdays and Sundays) at Lauds at 8:15, and Vespers at 18:30.
(There are no photos of the interior online, apparently.)