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San Giovanni Battista de La Salle alla Piazza di Spagna

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  San Giovanni Battista de La Salle alla Piazza di Spagna is a 19th century school chapel, listed by the Diocese as a church, with a postal address at Via San Sebastianello 1 near the Spanish Steps in the rione Campo Marzio. The actual edifice is on the Via Alibert.

The dedication is to St John Baptist de La Salle.

HistoryEdit

It was built in 1883 to 1885 as the chapel of a school set up here, which was being established in a 18th century palazzo donated by Prince Torlonia to the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The patron saint was their founder. 

The architect was Ciriaco Baschieri Salvadori.

There was a narrow escape after 1931, when the Fascist government proposed a new road that would have entailed the demolition of the complex. In response, the Brothers initiated a project to transfer the school to a new site in the rione Flaminio. The Second World War put a stop to Fascist road-building schemes in Rome, but it was decided to go ahead with the project as a new school. This was opened in 1956, and is now the Istituto Villa Flaminia. It has its own chapel -Annunciazione della Villa Flaminia.

The older school on the Piazza di Spagna is still run by the Brothers, and is now the Collegio di San Giuseppe de Merode.

The church used to be listed as open to pilgrim visitors, but nowadays seems to be private.

AppearanceEdit

This is a surprisingly large church, but is seriously hidden away. The right hand wall fronts onto the Via Alibert, which is a dead-end street off the Via Margutta, and is embellished there with Corinthian semi-columns.

The layout is rectangular, and features a nave of three bays with side aisles. There is a large polygonal apse, five-sided, as high as the nave, and also a matroneo or upper gallery. There is no entrance façade, since the way in is through one of the 18th century wings of the former palazzo to the east which is arranged round an arcaded courtyard.

Inside, the extensive fresco work on the side walls, apse and ceiling vault is by Fontana. The apse features a fresco featuring Christ and Our Lady with St John Baptist de La Salle. There are three side chapels, described as not having any works of art worth noting.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

College website

Info.roma web-page

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