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Sant'Antonio Abate all'Aventino

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Sant'Antonio Abate all'Aventino is a 19th century convent chapel at Via di Santa Sabina 62, which is on the Aventine. This is in the rione Ripa.

The dedication is to St Anthony the Great.

HistoryEdit

The Camaldolese nuns here started life as a group of pious women attached to the monastery of San Gregorio Magno al Celio, who received formal recognition as a new monastic community in 1722. This is counted as the foundation year of the present community.

The new foundation erected a nunnery at Santa Maria della Concezione alla Lungara in 1726, but the site was very cramped and right next to the river. Hence, it was also regularly flooded. As a result the nuns abandoned the convent after only fifty years, and moved to Sant'Antonio Abate all'Esquilino in 1778. They were here until 1871. When the Italian government expropriated their convent, they had to build a new one here which they completed in 1878. They kept the name of their old home.

The nunnery has the status of an abbey, and the superior is an abbattissa. It remains a fairly large community, and at the start of the 21st century had two dependent houses: Casa Emmaus at Partina near Arezzo (with only one nun in 2000) and the Transfiguration Monastery at Windsor near Syracuse NY, in the USA.

AppearanceEdit

The convent is on the junction between the Via di San Sabina and the Clivo del Publici, and can be identified by means of its red brick campanile or bellcote which has arched openings for two bells, side by side. (This hints that the original plan was for the chapel to have some public function). The chapel hides behind this, and is invisible from the street. It is a red brick edifice with a short rectangular nave and an external segmental apse with a pitched and tiled roof. The main roof, however, is flat. There is no façade, as the convent building joins onto the chapel.

The interior is very simple, with whitewashed walls.

The nuns have a very large and impressive garden. However, given that they belong to a contemplative order and are are enclosed, the chapel and the rest of the site is not open to visitors.

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