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San Paolo della Croce

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San Paolo della Croce is a late 20th century parish and titular church at Via Poggio Verde 319 in the west of the suburb of Corviale. This is in the Gianicolense suburban zone. It is very near the famous or notorious Corviale apartments, after which the suburb is named.

The dedication is to St Paul of the Cross.

History Edit

The Corviale was begun in 1972, as a futuristic exercise in working-class housing inspired by Le Corbusier. It is an apartment block which is a kilometre long and nine storeys high, with 1200 apartments. It has had a dreadful history -progetto incasinato.

The Diocese anticipated the arrival of the first legal occupants (as well as a flood of squatters) in 1982 by setting up a parish in 1977. At first this only had the church of San Francesco Saverio a Somaini, which is nowhere near. But the permanent church was designed by Ennio Canino, and completed in 1983.

It was made titular in 1985, and the present cardinal priest is Oswald Gracias.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

This is a low flat-roofed building on a square plan, rather hidden away by trees on its spacious site. In fact, if you didn't know it was here you wouldn't notice it.

The plan is based on a square. Behind the altar end is a block of ancillary and office accommodation, semi-circular in plan and having a flat roof. This has a central atrium open to the sky, and containing a pair of mature trees -rather neat.

The church was obviously designed with satellite images in mind, since the roof is divided into four equal squares by a cross which is made up of four skylight strips. Two of the squares are in light grey, and two are pink -the pattern is known by the English as a Battenberg cake.

The roof is not supported by the walls, but by internal columns. This allows for a continuous window strip just below the eaves, which is in clear glass. The eaves themselves are deep, and have an inward curve from the roof edge. The walls are in smooth concrete blocks, by the look of them.

Façade Edit

The church does not face on to any street. The actual entrance is on the Via Marino Mazzacurati, near its north end and its junction with the Via Poggio Verde. Look for the pedestrian crossing, which continues as a footpath to the Corviale. Next to this to the north is a ramped court bounded by low walls, leading to a free-standing square concrete pillar with a tall, thin metal cross attached. Beyond this, a set of stairs comes up from the footpath onto a level patio. Two short flights of stairs, again bounded by low walls, leads to the entrance on the right. A ramp for wheelchair users runs up the far side of the stairs.

The entrance is unadorned, being a rectangular portal topped by a flat concrete beam supported by two slabs. Above the beam is a large clear glass window, joining onto the window strips on either side. The eaves of the roof are interrupted by the near end of the central skylight strip, and curve up to meet it.

Interior Edit

The square interior is dominated by the flat ceiling. This is divided into four squares in black, with pale concrete edges rounded up to meet four narrow prism-shaped skylight strips forming a cross across it. Four thick cylindrical metal columns support the ceiling, and these have flared tops. They are painted in white. The floor is in reddish tiles.

External links Edit

(The church's online presence is poor.)

Official diocesan web-page (The link to the parish website has been dead for some time.)

Info.roma web-page

Apasseggio web-page

PDF article on Corviale with photo

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