Santa Gemma Galgani a Casalotti is a mid 20th century parish church at Piazza del Castello di Porcareccia 32, in the north of the suburban zone of Casalotti which is on the Via di Boccea just west of the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale).
This church is in the municipality of Rome, but belongs to the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.
It should be noted that the dedication of the parish is different to that of the church, being to SS Rufina and Secunda (Sante Rufina e Seconda). It is possible in the Catholic Church for a parish to have a different dedication from that of its church, although examples are not common.
The confusion is worsened by the nearby church of Santi Martiri di Selva Candida, actually dedicated to SS Rufina and Seconda but belonging to the parish of Natività di Maria Santissima!
The parish was founded and the church built in 1954, the latter replacing the small 17th century church of Santa Maria di Porcareccia nearby which had served the little rural community of Porcareccia until suburban development made it inadequate.
The dedication of the parish was deliberately chosen to evoke the lost 4th century cathedral of the ancient diocese of Santa Rufina, traditionally located at Sante Rufina e Seconda a Porcareccina on the Via di Boccea (the actual site is probably a little distance away).
At the start of the 20th century the church was remodelled and provided with a ferial or weekday chapel in the crypt.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church looks more impressive from the front than it actually is, because the façade covers not just the frontage but also parish and other subsidiary accommodation on each side. The actual church edifice abuts onto a three-storey range on both sides and at the back, and the whole forms a single building on a rectangular plan.
The subsidiary ranges have flat roof areas, but the church itself has an odd roofing arrangement whereby the nave roof curves down towards the back and the sanctuary roof then curves up. There is a skylight strip along the major axis of both.
The façade is in light grey with white trim. It is approached by a flight of steps, and has a loggia of three arches, the middle one being larger. This has six pilasters with simple imposts, two on each corner and two pairs flanking the entrance arch. These support a false architrave with the inscription Santa Rufina Santa Seconda.
Above the loggia, the main body of the edifice shows in three sections. The side ones have horizontal rooflines, and each have two small windows flanking a blind niche. The tops of these are slightly bowed. The middle section has a pair of double pilasters without capitals supporting an inscription Santa Gemma and flanking a blank tondo. A triangular pediment crowns this section.
The rather narrow interior has galleries down each side, with open metal railings made of welded steel strips in decorative patterns (suburban garden gate style).
The sanctuary has a semi-cylindrical apse which is structurally free-standing although the ends of the longitudinal support beams of the galleries are incorporated into it. It bears a depiction of St Gemma in Glory.
The crypt has a low saucer-dome vault in rough concrete. Behind the altar is a mosaic showing scenes from the legend of SS Rufina and Secunda.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:00, 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00 (not summer), 11:30, 18:30.
Parish website (November 2017: BEWARE, MALWARE.)