San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio is a late 20th century parish and convent church with a postal address at Via Marco Callidio 22, which is in the west end of the suburban zone of Torre Spaccata south of the Via Casilina. The main entrance is at Via Marcio Rutilio 15.
The parish is administered by the Conventual Franciscans , appropriately enough as the patron saint, St Bonaventure, was the most famous Franciscan theologian in the Middle Ages. Bagnoregio is where he came from, and the suffix distinguishes the church from the other one dedicated to him in the city, San Bonaventura al Palatino.
The parish was set up in 1974. Initially it was entrusted to diocesan clergy, but the Roman province of the Conventuals took over before the permanent church was begun.
There was serious opposition to the building of the church from Communist activists in this lower-class suburb. In 1977 parishioners organized a protest against a legal delay in allocating land for a permanent church, by erecting a large iron cross on the proposed site. The temporary church, in shop premises, was firebombed (with little damage) at the end of the same year. The planning permission finally came through a year later, but actually erecting the edifice took another twenty-two years.
The new church designed by Francesco Paolo Riccobene (his only one in Rome), and completed in 1999.
The plan is that of a half-open fan, with parallel curves for the entrance frontage and the altar end and straight side walls. An apse is attached behind the altar, the shape being that of a segment of a pentagon taking one side and half of each side adjacent.
Attached to the right hand side is a flat-roofed rectangular block containing the ferial chapel and confessionals, which is lower than the church. Beyond this is a square block containing two sacristies, and then comes the convent and parish offices in a three-storey block in pink brick of no great interest.
Attached to the left hand side is a little blank-walled flat-roofed annexe on a trapezoidal plan, which is the choir.
The fabric has a reinforced concrete frame, with infill in pink brick. The building is low, having a flat roof beneath a low parapet formed by the tops of the blank pink brick walls. The main roof is in laminated wood, supported by ten ribs running from the altar wall to the entrance wall (eight of these are in four pairs, with two outer singletons). The apse roof seems to be in concrete panels, as are the roofs of the choir and ferial chapel.
The side walls have little rectangular windows in concrete box-frames hanging down from the roofline. The left hand side has two of these, beyond the choir, and the right hand side four, above the ferial chapel.
The main fenestration of the church consists in glass screen walls which occupy the entire walls of the sides of the apse and the back walls flanking it.
The church stands back from the street, and has an attractive garden in front of it with some maturing trees and a bronze statue of St Francis. This has a concrete revetment wall facing the street, topped by metal railings and studded with protruding blocks of limestone.
The entrance gateway is flanked by two short sections of pink brick walling in the shape of an L, with a pair of globe lamps. The gates themselves are in metal painted grey, with square coffers. Beyond is a set of semi-circular stairs to the patio in front of the church.
The curved frontage in blank pink brick is impressive. The single entrance is a large open horizontal rectangular portal leading into an internal porch, with the door in the back wall. The upper edge of the portal is a concrete beam supported by a pair of free-standing concrete columns. The line of the beam is continued across the frontage as a recessed groove in the brickwork, which contains a framework supporting beam.
Flanking the entrance on each side, below this groove, is a row of eight stone squares each containing a little round window.
Above the portal there is a slot in the wall reaching the roofline, occupied by a window. A metal cross is attached to the upper part of the latter, and protrudes above the roofline.
The free-standing tower campanile is some distance from the church, at the street corner of the site on the far side of the car park to the right of the church. It consists of three high but thin concrete slabs, arranged on a triangular plan with their alignments meeting at a point. However, they do not touch but their near edges enclose a cylindrical cage of vertical metal railings which encloses the stairs. At the top, three metal bars bridge each of the gaps between the slabs and these provide the attachments from which the bells are hung.
The interior is dominated by the main nave roof, in natural pinewood with rafters and planking. The sanctuary apse roof is in concrete, and the two roofs are separated by an enormous curving concrete slab-beam supported on a pair of concrete columns. In between the columns it has a segmental cut-out to give the impression of a triumphal arch.
The nave walls are in pink brick, with a horizontal support beam visible in the fabric. This forms the lintel of the portals in both side walls, a large one into the choir to the left and separate ones into the confessionals and ferial chapel to the right. The former has a row of four square apertures above it, and the latter is occupied by a line of six square piers.
The far walls below the triumphal arch beam, and the apse side walls below the same level, are in clear glass in mullions forming squares. The view is of two little courtyards flanking the apse, which are filled with shrubs -this is deliberate, as the vegetation is providing an iconic representation of Life for the worshippers.
Otherwise, the sanctuary looks as if it is revetted in polished limestone and is raised on three steps.
The church is open 7:30 to 20:00.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:30, 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 12:00 (not in summer), 18:00 (19:00 in summer).
"Summer" here seems to be from the second week in June to that in September.