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San Leone in Via Prenestina

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San Leone in Via Prenestina

English name: St Leo in Prenestina Way
Dedication: Leo I, Pope
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Built: 1952
Contact data
Address: Via Prenestina 104

San Leone in Via Prenestina is a modern parish and titular church at Via Prenestina 104, in the Prenestino-Labicano district. It's a familar landmark for anybody driving on the western end of the present Via Prenestino just east of the Piazzale Prenestino. Picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons. [1]

The patron saint is Pope Leo the Great. The church holds the cardinal title of San Leone I, and the present titular is Karl Lehmann.


It was designed by Giuseppe Zander and completed in 1952 in the neo-Romanesque style, using red brick for the exterior walls. It is a large church, a nave with aisles having an external semi-circular apse and (unusually for a Roman church) two side-apses on a segmental plan. Further, there are two pairs of transepts forming a cross of Lorraine which is also unusual in Rome. The roofs are pitched and tiled, except those over the aisles and the side apses which are flat.

The façade has no gable but a horizontal roofline, despite the pitched roof of the nave, and the brickwork is in the ancient Roman style with shallow bricks. Every fifth course of bricks is recessed, so that the entire façade has a striped pattern. There is a central door without any porch, having a stone doorframe and a tympanum arch above containing a stone relief sculpture of the patron saint. Above this is a a round window, with mullions in the pattern of an eight-petalled chrysanthemum. There are two plain side aisle doors with stone doorcases, and the aisle rooflines are also horizontal. Over the left hand aisle door is a relief of the keys of Peter, and over the right hand one, a cross. The three reliefs above the entrance doors are by Luigi Ventura.

The tall campanile on a square plan, with the brickwork of the bell-chamber embellished by white horizontal stripes, is attached to the right of the entrance façade. It has a large arched sound-hole on each side.

There is a quirky inscription in white displayed in individual letters over the main entrance which translates: “Christ yesterday, today…..for ever”. Is this permanent, or just for now? Hopefully the latter.


The interior has a nave and two aisles, with concrete columns and ceilings. The modern works of art of note are:

By János Hajal, the mosaic depicting Pope St Leo’s meeting with Attila the Hun and the windows depicting the Ten Commandments.

By Venanzo Crocetti, the Crucifixion in bronze.

By Alfredo Bigini, Madonna and Child over Lady Altar.

By Louis Montanarini, Sacred Heart

By Gisberto Ceracchini, Holy Family

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Aerial photos

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