Santa Maddalena di Canossa is a late 20th century parish and convent church at Via della Lucchina 82 in the centre of the suburban zone of Ottavia, south-west of the junction between the Via Trionfale and the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale).
The dedication is to St Magdalene of Canossa, who was the founder of the Sons and Daughters of Charity of Verona and who died in 1835.
The parish was erected in 1988, and entrusted to the Sons of Charity (Figli della Carità or Canossiani).
The permanent church was completed in 1996, the architect being Giovanni Ambrosi De Magistris.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church is based on a square plan with the major axis on a diagonal. It stands on a crypt which is the ferial chapel, and has the convent and parish offices attached to its far side.
The edifice has low exterior walls in pink brick, infilling a reinforced concrete frame. The roof dominates the structure.
This roof is like a squat three-storey step-pyramid or pagoda, with the three storeys of diminishing area and each having four single pitches in what looks like anodised metal. In between each roof storey is a thin lunette strip of stained glass window on each side, under a slightly curved dark grey concrete beam occupying the length of that side. Four enormous white concrete beams run up the roof corners, leaving gaps under them where the storeys form steps. At the top is an octagonal lantern with a large rectangular window on every other face and vertical extensions of the beams occupying the faces in between. On top is a fountain-shaped finial with a ball and cross, and spiked balls also occupy the vertical beam ends.
At the altar end of the church, the pitches first storey of the roof stop short and have ancillary walls filling the gap on the left hand side but not on the right. At the angle there is a tall campanile, which is an octagonal pink brick tower having four concrete piers running up alternate faces to support the octagonal cap. The bell storey is left open. Interestingly, the cap is not rotationally symmetric but bilaterally so on the major axis. There is a plinth supporting a spiked ball on the outer side of the cap, and the roof has pitches which run from the other seven faces. This is a clever piece of design.
The entrance is in a screen wall shaped like a segment of a cylinder with the curve facing outwards, and the top cut in a parabolic curve. This wall is in rough-cut limestone blocks, with thin horizontal red brick stripes. The semi-circular entrance canopy is inserted within the cylindrical curve, and is supported by a single square pier.
In front of the entrance is a limestone pavement inlaid with a geometric pattern made up of triangles in dark red lines. This pavement is circular, fitting into the arc of the screen wall.
The interior is one large space, dominated by the roof. This shows its concrete framework, consisting of a central cylindrical skylight supported by four beams on the diagonals of the church's square plan. The side walls are topped by a square frame of beams, and two other nested sets of such beams divide the storeys of the roof. These two sets have low lunettes over them, with stained glass in an abstract pattern.
In between the beams, the roof surfaces are panelled with wooden planks held by joists which are radial to the central ring of the bottom of the lantern cylinder.
The lower pair of lunettes in the far diagonal walls only extend along half the length of these walls. The far half of each wall is occupied by a monumental brick screen with the bricks laid to give a ladder-rung pattern. These two screen walls give a backing to the sanctuary, and have a large rectangular stained glass window in between them.
In front of the window hangs a large crucifix, and the wall surfaces on either side of this have two mosaics of Our Lady and St Magdalene of Canossa.
According to the Diocese (June 2018), Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:30, 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:15, 10:00, 11:15, 18:30.
As a convent church, the Divine Office is celebrated here:
Lauds 8:10, Vespers 19:10 (18:00 on Sundays and Solemnities).
Rosary is recited on weekdays at 18:00.
There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays, 17:30 to 18:30.
(The parish website never got off the ground.)