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San Valentino al Villagio Olimpico

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San Valentino al Villagio Olimpico is a modern parish church dedicated to St Valentine, a 3rd century Roma priest and martyr who had a shrine just to the south-east in the woods of the Villa Gloria. See San Valentino, Basilica di. The church has a postal address at Via Germania 13 in the Parioli district, near the Ponte Flaminio. However, the main entrance is on Via India. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons. [1]


The church was founded by Pope John XXIII before the 1960 Olympic Games, and was made a parochial church for the Olympic village. After the games, the houses were allocated to government employees and the military, and the church remains the parish church for the residents there. It is served by diocesan clergy.

Until 1987, it was only a small prefabricated building, but that year the architect Francesco Berarducci built the more permanent structure found today.


It is a low flat-roofed modernist building, rather stark in pink brick on a rectangular plan and set away from the road. The approach forms a little piazza with an impressive decorative pavement in grey and white. The square spiral in this is symbolic of the catacombs.

The entrance façade gives a very simple impression initially, being mostly blank pink brick wall, but is rather difficult to describe and the way the bricks are laid is rather clever. It is divided into two zones, with the right hand third recessed. This part of the frontage has its upper part as a brick wall, supported by a metal pillar at the far right hand corner, and the lower part mostly as an open loggia leading to the Via Germania entrance. This right hand side of the building is occupied by subsidiary facilities. Although the brick wall is in one plane, the brickwork contains a relieving arch spanning the void beneath and also features bricks laid on end along the roofline. The right hand corner of the latter has a white stone block as an eye-catcher.

The main part of the entrance frontage, the left hand two-thirds, is the actual church. Where the frontage steps back vertically, the longitudinal wall of the step and the left hand section of the wall of the recessed part (that is, left of the side loggia) are extended upwards above the roofline to form a strange little L-shaped tower, with a white stone cross on its angle and another eye-catcher block on its top right hand corner. This architectural feature has two broad white decorative bands as decoration. A glance at a photo may make sense of this.

Immediately to the left of this tower feature is the main entrance, which is a large rectangular aperture leading into the main internal loggia. Above the entrance, the left hand half of the frontage is brick again with half a relieving arch. The right hand half is an impressive bronze tablet with a relief of the saint, held in place by metal girders painted brown. To the left of the main entrance there is another rectangular portal which is divided in two by a screen wall running down the left hand side of the piazza. The relieving arch of this side entrance starts at the bottom left hand corner of the main entrance. The roofline above all this has bricks on end again.


The church is intended to emulate the ambience of the Catacombs of St Valentine , which are located not far from it under the former basilica. It is a church that invites the visitor to silence and calmness. The interior walls are of the same pink brick as the exterior ones, and the roofs have large trusses made from steel girders painted brown. The fenestration is clear windows below the ceiling, as well as skylights. There is a single nave, with an opening on the left leading into the Chapel of the Crucifix. The floor is in grey and white, and is a continuation of the paving of the piazza.

On the wall behind the altar is a framed fragment of a fresco showing Christ in glory, seated in a mandorla. Where is it from? The tabernacle, to the right of the altar, takes the form of a blazing sun in white metal. On the wall to the right of this is an old Byzantine-style icon of Our Lady.


The church is open:

08:00 to 13:00, 16:00 to 20:00.

The bus to use to get here is number 217, which leaves from Termini.


The feast of St Valentine is celebrated on 14 February, although apart from in churches dedicated to St Valentine this celebration is superseded by that of SS Cyril and Methodius .

It is a well-visited parochial church, with two Masses on weekdays:

09.00 and 18.30 (winter) or 19.00 (Summer);

and several on Sundays:

08:30, 09:30, 10:30, 12:00, 18.30 (winter) or 19.00 (Summer).

None of these Masses are now advertised as being discontinued during the summer holiday period.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

Good photo of church façade

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