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Santa Maria Annunziata delle Turchine is a deconsecrated former 17th century convent church at Via dei Quattro Cantone 5 in the rione Monti.
The church belonged to the Roman convent of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, nicknamed the “Blue Nuns” or Turchine after the colour of their habits. The latter word literally means "Turkish" in Italian, which looks odd but is also the Italian for "turquoise" (which also meant "Turkish" originally).
This order of enclosed contemplative nuns was founded in Genoa by Blessed Mary-Victoria Fornari Strata in 1604, and the Roman convent was founded in 1676 by Princess Camilla Orsini Borghese, who became the superior here. The Augustinian rule was followed. Beware of confusion with the French Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Annonciades.
After the convent was sequestered with all the others in the city by the state in 1873, the church became part of a military tailoring establishment making uniforms for the army. At present, it belongs to the National Association of Paratroopers.
The community of nuns refused to become extinct, and have managed to re-establish themselves at Santa Maria Annunziata delle Monache Celesti.
This was a fairly large convent, arranged around three sides of a cloister to the west of the church. This cloister, rather unusually, had no arcaded walks. The fourth, west side led on to a large garden which occupied the inner angle of the street as it turns north-west to the present Via Cavour. The convent buildings are still there, but the garden is not.
The church was on the plan of a Greek cross, with the side arms slightly shorter than those on the major axis. The edifice is incorporated into the convent complex, although it has its own architectural identity within it. From the entrance door, there was a foyer which led into the main nave or crossing area through an archway supported by a pair of columns. To either side of the crossing was a large chapel each entered through a pair of columns. The sanctuary, which had no apse, was entered through a triumphal arch on pilasters.
The crossing area and sanctuary is under one pitched, tiled and hipped roof; the foyer and chapels have a lower elevation.
The façade survives intact, and has a simple design. There are two storeys. The first has two pairs of Doric pilasters either side of the entrance, which support an entablature with a wide blank frieze and strongly projecting cornice. The entrance is completely undecorated. Above it, placed so that the top is touching the architrave, is a large lunette window the base of which is extended in between the pilasters as a string course. Either side of the entrance is a round-headed window in between each pair of pilasters.
The second storey has a row of three rectangular windows, the outer pair of which have wide outer frames. Finally, there is a triangular pediment with a blank tympanum.