Sant’Andrea Corsini is a 21st century parish church at Via Alessandro Della Seta 40 in the suburb of Gregna Sant’Andrea, which is just outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Orientale) and north of Ciampino Airport in the suburban zone of Casal Morena. A picture of the church on Wikimedia Commons is here.
The patron saint, Andrew Corsini, was a famous bishop of Fiesole near Florence in the 14th century.
The parish was founded in 1989. The church, designed by Roberto Panella, was begun in 2001 and completed in 2003.
The church is on a newly-developed greenfield site, and in within a perfectly square enclosure with a low red brick temenos wall (necessarily supplemented by a security fence and hedge). The entrance is midway along the street side, but unfortunately the boundary wall here is set back from the roadside to leave room for a scabby eyesore of a car-park of the sort occupied by zingari. What went wrong?
The enclosure contains sports and social facilities as well as the parochial centre. The church is not actually in the centre of the enclosure's square, being located slightly towards the top left hand corner. To the bottom left is a garden with a little pavilion, and behind the church is a soccer pitch. An L-shaped ancillary block made up of several structural units of one and two storeys runs from the bottom right hand corner to the top right hand corner of the church, where it joins onto a unit attached to the right hand side of the church. The latter contains the ferial chapel.
The angle of the L encloses a square courtyard for open-air meetings. This is actually sunk, with two tiers of stone benches running round the side. It is paved in pink bricks, with a geometric pattern of a circle and squares in white and an outline diagonal cross in dark grey.
The entrance pathway does not quite align with the enclosure entrance, but does with the church entrance. It starts from a semi-circular paved area just within the former, and is paved in pink with a wide central white stripe. A pink-paved path leads off it to the assembly court. Beyond this, it meets a church entrance court in bright red,with four narrow stripes which act as symbolic guidelines to the church entrance. Another set of stripes lead off to the right to the parish office.
The fabric is in high-quality red brick, and in white reinforced concrete including curved and fitted slabs which looks as if they contain photocatalytic titanium dioxide (see Dio Padre Misericordioso).
The plan is geometrically complicated. It begins with a central square, which outlines the high roof of the church. Around the square is wrapped a circle, which marks the wall of the actual church -an arc of this circle is recessed at the entrance. Finally, the circle is enclosed by a further square formed of two enormous flanking flat-roofed colonnaded loggias in red brick, the right hand one at a higher level than that on the left.
A tower campanile is inserted into the near end of the right hand loggia, behind which is the ferial chapel. The baptistry is an annexe sheltering under the far end of the left hand loggia, and the confessionals are at the near end.
Fabric of church Edit
The actual church is a cylinder assembled from pre-fabricated curved square panels in white concrete. This has a recessed segment at the entrance, and the wall to the right of this is lower to fit under the roof of the right hand loggia.
On the top of the cylinder is a square modernist dome or turret. The roof of this is flat, with an invisible parapet. There deep eaves in red brick, with a substantial overhang. Below the eaves you can see the low brick walls of the turret, and at the corners of this are four concrete columns in the round which support the roof (if you are wondering what supports the turret walls -the columns also support four wide reinforced concrete slab-beams on which the walls sit).
Left hand loggia Edit
The left hand loggia has a rectangular plan, cut into by the left hand curve of the church wall. To the left of the entrance it has a massive longitudinal rectangular concrete pier faced in brick, and this is matched by three matching columns with the left hand one at the corner and the third one round the same corner. The same arrangement is at the back, at the altar end of the church.
The roof of this loggia is flat, with very deep eaves which match those of the dome and those of the right hand loggia.
The near end of the loggia shelters two windowless brick kiosks, which are the church's confessionals. The far end shelters the church's baptistery, which is also in brick but reaches the full height of the loggia. It has small rectangular windows near its top.
Right hand loggia Edit
The right hand loggia is higher than the left, and the flat rectangular roof is slightly higher than the body of the church on this side. A massive pier and two columns also occupy the frontage, but the pier is transverse. The parish's ancillary facilities append on the right.
The campanile is inserted into the near end of this loggia, and is higher than the central dome of the church. It has a trapezoidal plan, with a massive longitudinal rectangular pier providing the main support just within the loggia. The other three corner have thinner piers. A flat concrete cap has deep brick eaves matching those on the rooflines elsewhere, and a concrete platform below creates the bell-chamber. A metal scaffolding on top supports a cross finial. Screen walls with recessed panels flank the thinner piers of the campanile above the loggia roof, giving an impression of solidity.
An enclosed porch is fitted in between the near rectangular piers of the two side loggias, and has a flat concrete roof into which the right hand pier intrudes. The four monumental doors are made up of square panels of yellow glass, each being seven by two.
Over the porch, the church frontage has a large vertical rectangular window, almost square, with mullions forming two pairs of lines intersecting asymmetrically at right angles to form an upside-down cross motif.
The interior is defined by the curved walls, which show the white concrete panels from which they were assembled. Four plain white concrete columns support four vertical grey slab-beams forming a square, and these meld into four wide horizontal concrete beams like shelves, which support the walls of the central dome. The interior of the latter is entirely in white, creating a numinous space.
The upper part of the far left hand column intersects with two suspended white concrete cuboidal forms, which hang over the entrance to the baptistery. The font, in limestone, is a cylinder flanked by inverted L-shaped radial forms.
The right hand side of the interior is dominated by a recess leading to a glass screen beyond which is the ferial chapel -this is an ordinary room with white walls, not very interesting. Above the screen is a gallery with a clear glass panelled balustrade.
The floor of the nave is in white limestone slabs, with a central black pattern along the major axis featuring white lozenges within black squares.
The sanctuary is on a lenticular platform fitting into the curve of the wall, raised on two steps and paved in black. The altar is supported on a short column with two diagonal wing-slabs in stone which involve a square enclosed in an inverted L. The lectern or ambo to the left echoes this, with a column supporting the book-rest being flanked by nested inverted L's.
Behind the altar, a free-standing curved rectangular screen in light grey features a large cut-out cross which is backlighted.
To the right on the wall is a copy of a Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child, and to the left is a neo-Byzantine representation of Christ the Judge.
The church is open daily, 8:00 to 20:00.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:30, 18:00 (the evening Mass in July and August is cancelled on Mondays and is 19:00 on Saturdays);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 18:00 (19:00 July and August).