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San Francesco d’Assisi ad Acilia

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San Francesco d’Assisi ad Acilia is a mid 20th century parish and titular church at Largo Cesidio da Fossa 18, which is in the zone of Acilia Nord to the north of the Via del Mare and north-east of Ostia Antica. The locality is called Villaggio San Francisco. There is an English Wikipedia page here (a stub).

The patron saint is Francis of Assisi.

History Edit

The project to build a new church was begun in 1953 to a design by Vincenzo Passarelli, and the parish was formally erected in 1954.

The church was made titular in 2001, when Wilfrid Fox Napier was appointed cardinal priest.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church is basilical in layout, but to an odd plan. It is basically an octagon stretched along the major axis, and with two projecting ends of a transept in front of the sanctuary, each three-sided. The far sides of these are one with the diagonal sides of the octagon behind the altar. The central nave has side aisles, with an angle in each of them corresponding to those of the central nave side walls as dictated by the plan mentioned.

The roofs are pitched and tiled, and the outside walls are rendered in a creamy white except the side aisle walls which are in tufa ashlar. The central nave has a window strip below the roofline of each side wall, divided into rectangles by little red pillars, and the side aisle walls each have a row of little rectangular windows below the roofline. A side entrance is at the far end of each aisle.

The transept ends each have a very large square window, divided by eight vertical red mullions in the same style as the window strips in the nave walls.

The campanile sits over the far wall of the church. It echoes the plan of the church itself, a stretched hexagon (not an octagon), built in tufa blocks with a gabled top. The open bell-chamber fits into the gable, thus having a pentagonal sound-hole on either side, and is screened by four rails on each side which are in the form of a horizontal outwardly angled X.

Façade Edit

The entrance façade has a floating canopy of three triangular gables, occupying the entire width including the aisles. This canopy is contiguous with the aisle roofs on each side. Below, the aisle ends are in tufa ashlar, and form projections each with a chamfered acute angle. The central nave frontage here is tiled in what looks like striped pale brown marble, and there is a mosaic over the large single doorway.

On the nave frontage, over the canopy, is a vertically stretched octagonal stained glass window mimicking the plan of the church.

In the little piazza in front of the church, laid out as a public garden, are statues of St Francis and Our Lady on plinths.

Interior Edit

The side aisles are screened off from the main worshipping area of the central nave by panes of glass in wooden frames. The transept ends form side chapels.

The roof is open, painted white, and has concrete trusses with vertical bars. These are supported by piers, tapering towards the bottom, which are clad in what looks like blue-grey marble. The far wall, above the altar, is dominated by a wall occupying the central portion and fitted into the roof gable. It is in patterned ashlar stone, laid alternatively white and ochre yellow, with an outwardly pointing vertical angle. In front of this is hung a statue of St Francis embracing a cross.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 17:00 (18:00 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 9:00, 11:00, 18:00 (19:00 in summer).

External links Edit

(The online profile of the church is poor.)

Official diocesan web-page

Info.roma web-page

Page with photos on Beweb

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