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San Giuseppe Cotolengo

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San Giuseppe Cotolengo is a modern parish church is at Viale di Valle Aurelia 62, in the suburb of Valle Aurelia just to the west of Vatican City. This is part of the Aurelio district.

The patron saint, Giuseppe Benedetto Cotolengo, was a priest of Turin who founded the "Piccola Casa", a famous charity in Italy, and who died in 1842.


The church was designed by Franco Ceschi, and opened in 1979 as part of a social centre for the suburb. The building as a whole contains other departments besides the church, and sprawls over an irregular plan. It has a flat roof, and walls mostly in a puce colour. However, the church itself is on a square plan, with the major axis from entrance to altar on a diagonal. To get to the entrance, one has to take a path through a scruffy piece of undeveloped land, and once there will find the doorway between two enormous white rectangular slabs, set diagonally with the inner edges by the door furthest out. All four sides of the church have ancillary rooms attached under the same roof. The roof area of the church itself is divided into two zones by the transverse diagonal; the triangular area nearest the entrance is lower, and has a long skylight of triangular cross-section raised on two low walls sitting on the roof and running along the major axis. The other zone, the altar side, is higher by the height of the walls just mentioned. The skylight runs on to occupy the entire major axis, and another identical skylight strip occupies the top of the low wall running along the transverse diagonal and dividing the two roof zones. A glance at the aerial photos on the external link may elucidate this.


The window over the altar is pentagonal, formed from a square on edge on top of a horizontal rectangle and with the angles infilled with two triangles. The geometric shapes are outlined by the mullions.

The terracotta Stations of the Cross by Tino Perrotta are one of the best modern versions in Rome. The relief showing the patron saint is by Silvio Olivo.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Architect's plan

Aerial photos

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