San Giuseppe Moscati is a late 20th century parish church at Via Libero Leonardi 41, in the suburban zone of Torre Maura north-west of the junction between the Via Tuscolana and the Grande Raccordo Orientale (Circonvallazione Orientale). A picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons is here.
The parish was set up in 1988. The church was designed by Eugenio Abruzzini, and completed in 1991.
The church does not have an independent civic presence, but is situated in a larger single edifice which incorporates ancillary parochial facilities under one roof.
A basic design feature is the repeated use of a right-angled isosceles triangle in the plan, which is obviously an allusion to the Trinity.
The complex overall occupies a roughly rectangular plan, but the church's major axis is at forty-five degrees to that of the rectangle. The bottom end of the church's axis points at the main entrance to the complex, which for the sake of the description is taken to be the bottom left hand corner of the rectangle with the long axis of the latter going from near to far.
The left hand side of the complex is occupied by a single-storey wing containing meeting rooms, beyond which is a side entrance. The far side of the complex is occupied by a large rectangular meeting-hall or aula, and the far right hand corner of the rectangle (to the right of the aula) features a stand-alone tower campanile. The front of the complex has a separate wing containing a medical clinic, and this part of the edifice continues up the near right hand side where it abuts the church. This side contains the parish offices and the sacristy.
There is a wide gap between the left hand and front wings, which forms the main entrance.
The left hand and front wings, together with the frontage of the church, define an enclosed triangular courtyard. A second, narrow rectangular courtyard runs from the side entrance to the left as far as the open space around the campanile, and occupies the zone between the aula and the church.
The church itself is on the plan of an irregular hexagon, formed by cutting the corners off a right-angled triangle. The hypotenuse of the triangle provides the frontage, flanked by two very short sides at right angles to the long far diagonal sides. The back of the church has appended to it a rectangular sanctuary, and this has a triangular bastion in its far left hand wall.
Fabric of ancillary structures Edit
The ancillary wings have one storey, and are in reinforced concrete. The aula and the L-shaped area at the bottom right hand corner, containing the parish offices, both have mansard roofs. However, the rest is covered by a flat roof in a red composition which has a deep overhang over the exterior walls. This roof is continued in one sweep from the front wing to the left hand wing, where it forms an entrance canopy filling the bottom left hand angle in the rectangle of the plan. Here it is supported by three concrete pillars. It also runs along the frontage of the church to form a canopy there.
The outer walls are unremarkable, in concrete with rows of clear glass windows.
Fabric of church Edit
The church itself is on the other side of the triangular courtyard from the main entrance. The narrow outer zones of its roof are also part of the overall flat roof of the complex, but the centre is taken up by an enormous geometric form formed by one half of a pyramid cut along a diagonal. The sloping sides face the altar, and are in a dark grey composition. The triangular vertical side faces the entrance courtyard, and has a white frame. A concrete arc separates the space into two windows, a lower one which is a large lunette with mullions in diagonal rows and the upper one which has a hyperbolic curve on top and follows the arc below. This fenestration is a very striking architectural feature.
Below this fenestration is a line of flat roof, an on it is a smaller dark grey half-pyramid with its diagonal face joined to the larger one and with its tip in glass. Below this, and in front of the roofline, is a triangle in red brick bearing a wooden cross, which reaches as high as the roofline. The sloping sides of the little pyramid are continued down to flank this. The actual entrances to the church are on either side.
The sanctuary, on a rectangular plan, is in the form of a triangular prism with the triangular faces at either end occupied by windows. Attached to the far side on the left is a chapel on a triangular plan, with a pyramidal skylight.
The free-standing tower campanile is a white concrete tower on the plan of a right angled isosceles triangle. The hypotenuse of this has a slot all the way up its face, and the right angle is cut away in a slot of three steps widening with height. The bells are in a metal cage near the top.
A metal cross finial with a very long base length is attached to the right angled corner, behind the stepped slot where it is supported by metal brackets.
The low side walls of the interior are in rough-cut tufo stone blocks and are vertical, but most of the surfaces are sloping and are in concrete. The juxtaposition of two half-pyramids, the main one much larger than the one over the entrance, gives a very interesting interplay of sloping surfaces. The main half-pyramid is supported by two transverse hyperbolically curved beams of the same design as that in the enormous front window.
The space available to the congregation is surprisingly limited, as is often the case with new churches in Rome -large congregations now only occur on major feast-days after the collapse in Mass attendance at the end of the 20th century.
The baptismal font is in a prominent position at the near end of the major axis.
The sanctuary back wall slopes back, and to its left has a large triangular-shaped cavity comprising the Blessed Sacrament chapel. This is lit by a skylight.
The side walls flanking the sanctuary end in fairly large triangular windows, having stained glass with an astronomical theme -one is Day, and the other Night.
A good bronze statue of St Giuseppe Moscati, the patron saint, is over to the right.
Mass is celebrated:
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 11:00, 18:00.
In summer the 18:00 Masses are at 19:00.
Rosary is recited daily at 17:15.