Churches of Rome Wiki

Santa Marcella

1,404pages on
this wiki

Santa Marcella is a modern parish church at Piazza Nicoloso da Recco 12 in the Ostiense district, just north-east of the Ostiense train station. Picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons. [1]

The patron saint, Marcella, was a noble lady in Rome who was a friend of St Jerome and who was given a serious beating by the Visigoths who wanted her money in the Sack of Rome, 410. She had already given it all to the poor, and died as a result of the beating.


The church was designed by Leonardo del Bufalo, and completed in 1958. The plan is based on an irregular hexagon, stretched along the major axis with four long walls on the sides and short walls at the entrance and behind the altar. The tall exterior walls are in red brick, and the red composition roof has gables over entrance and altar frontages. At both sides, the roof starts with a negative pitch to a valley gutter before rising to a little central lantern.

The gabled façade is a pink brick wall, which is recessed within the side walls and roof. It has no proper windows, only a long vertical slit window and two short horizontal ones in the form of a cross, with five vertical slit windows below. The brickwork has recessed lines extending the five slits up to the gable, and also one horizontally to emphasize the cross motif. On either side, there are two blank brick walls inserted diagonally, and where these meet the side walls there are window strips.

The side walls have strips of window under the roofline, and two large windows running the entire height at the corners with the altar wall. The gable in the altar wall also contains a window.

There is a tall, thin detached campanile to the right of the entrance, on the same hexagonal plan as the church. It formed out of six thin concrete pillars conjoined by cross-struts, with the pillars narrowing towards the top so that the voids in between them open out. The cap is a steep octagonal cone.


The windows either side of the altar have clear glass and a striking pattern of fenestration of cuboids and triangles. The main altar has a hexagonal vertical profile, again replicating the plan of the church. There is a very unusual crucifix behind the altar by Marcello Ercole, the corpus of which is detached and hangs between two large, upwardly-diagonal thorns. A fresco by Dilva Lotti on the wall above the entrance is also worthy of note, depicting scenes of Christian symbolism in a somewhat surrealistic style reminiscent of Salvador Dali.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Aerial photos

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki