Santa Marcella is a mid 20th century parish church at Piazza Nicoloso da Recco 12 in the Ostiense quarter, just north-east of the Ostiense train station. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.
The dedication is to St Marcella. She was a noble lady in Rome, who was a friend of St Jerome. She who was given a serious beating by the Visigoths who wanted her money in the Sack of Rome, 410. However she had already given it all to the poor, and died as a result of the interrogation.
The church was designed by Leonardo del Bufalo, and completed in 1958. It is his only church in Rome.
Layout and fabric Edit
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 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 gabled façade is a pink brick wall, which is recessed within the side walls and roof. It has no proper windows, only a long thin 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 emphasise 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 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 Dilvo Lotti on the counterfaçade wall above the entrance is also worthy of note, depicting scenes of Christian symbolism in a somewhat surrealistic style reminiscent of Salvador Dali.
The church is open daily from 7:00 to 12:00, and from 16:00 to 18:30 or after Mass (20:00 in summer).
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 18:30 (during winter this is in the ferial chapel);
Sundays and Solemnities 9:30, 11:30, 18:30.
There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays between 19:00 and 20:00.
External Mass centre Edit
The parish has one external Mass centre, San Cosimato in Ostiense which is nearby and where Mass on weekday mornings is now to be had.