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Sant'Omobono

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Sant'Omobono

English name: St Homobonus
Dedication: St Homobonus of Cremona
Denomination: Roman Catholic
Built: 15th century
Contact data
Address: Vico Jugario
00186 Roma

Sant'Omobono is a guild church dedicated to St Homobonus of Cremona, patron of tailors, and is located on the Vico Jugario in the rione Ripa. It is a familar landmark to the east of the Via Petrosa, looming over the excavated ancient ruins of the Area Sacra di Sant'Omobono, but its civic profile is limited. It has rarely been found open, and is now "closed awaiting repair". Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons. [1]

HistoryEdit

In the days of the Roman Empire the site was occupied by the twin temples of Mater Matuta and Fortuna, and it is considered that the present church occupies the layout of the former. Its early history is completely obscure, although a 6th century origin is surmised. About 1200 there was a restoration which included the execution of Cosmatesque work, and the church was then called San Salvatore in Portico ("Our Saviour in the Portico"). It was rebuilt in 1482, the architect being Lorenzo Lini and the benefactor one Stefano Satro de Baronilis, who was the superintendant of the hospital of Santa Maria in Portico (later Santa Galla Antiqua) and whose tomb is in the church. In 1575 it was granted to the Università dei Sarti, the guild of tailors. They had it restored and rededicated to their patron saint, and remain in possession.

The church had two very narrow escapes in the 1930's. The present Area Sacra is the result of initial demolitions to make way for another enormous Fascist office block like the one on the site of Santa Maria Antiqua, and the plan for this involved the demolition of the church, too. However, the archeology revealed in the initial phase of the scheme was of such importance that further work was cancelled. Then, the archaeologists wished to demolish the church to reveal the remains of the twin temples below it. More enlightened views prevailed, and the church was restored in 1940. It is again showing obvious signs of dilapidation.

At the start of this century the church was open for Mass at 11:00 on the first Sunday of the month, and was also part of the Centro storico marriage circuit. It is now presumably inaccessible until restored, whenever that may be.

ExteriorEdit

There is an unaisled rectangular nave with a pitched and tiled roof, and a presbyterium forming a five-sided apse with the walls slightly lower than those of the nave. The walls of these are in brick. On top of this apse is a small dome with a drum rendered in orange-pink, the dome itself being a tiled segment of a sphere with eight ribs in tile. The drum has five buttresses, rising from the corners of the apse, and unusually these are also tiled. To the sides are a pair of oculi or round windows, and there is another one at the back inset in a rectangular frame with a slightly curved top.

2011 Omobono
The church as a familiar landmark.

The church is raised above the level of the street on a crypt, and so is approached via two flights of transverse stairs. The balustrading of these and of the little landing in front of the entrance has vanished and been replaced by ugly steel bars. To the right side, facing the ruins, is an open loggia running along the nave with four brick arches and one at either end. These lack imposts.

There used to be remains of a Romanesque campanile to the right of the façade, but these were lost in the excavations.

Omobono

The dignified but now scruffy façade is in brick with architectural details in travertine. Four gigantic Doric pilasters in brick rise from a pair of high plinths which reach halfway up the entrance doorway. These pilasters support an entablature with a crowning triangular pediment, and on the tympanum of the latter are decayed remnants of a fresco. The frieze of the entablature bears a dedicatory inscription, but the dirt makes this difficult to read.

Over the doorway is a raised triangular pediment supported by double volutes, and above this is a large oculus or round window enclosed in a square Baroque frame with the corners delineated. The four spaces between the window and the angles of the square are filled with winged putto's heads, the square is supported by two dumpy Doric pilasters and is embellished on the sides with a pair of little volutes with tassels. The doorway is flanked by a pair of large empty round-headed niches with oversize keystones, and above these are two square windows with frames in the same style as the oculus. The capitals of each pair of gigantic pilasters are connected by swags.

InteriorEdit

In the apse is an early 16th century painting by Pietro Turini.

In the lunette of the third arch on the left in the nave is a charming depiction of God the Father as a tailor, clothing Adam in a fur-trimmed cloak after expelling him and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Unfortunately, there seem to be no pictures available online of the interior of this church.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

"Romeartlover" web-page

Info.roma web-page

"Roma Capitale" web-page

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