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Santa Maria Assunta al Tufello is a mid 20th century parish church at Via Monte Massico 14, in the suburb of Tufello which is part of the Monte Sacro quarter. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.
The parish was set up in 1950, when the church was already under construction (having been commissioned in 1949). It was designed by Tullio Rossi, and completed in the same year.
Layout and fabric Edit
Architecturally the church is one of Rossi's less ambitious projects, being a simple rectangular brick box with a pitched roof and an external U-shaped apse slightly longer than a semi-circle.
The single nave has five bays, and the side walls have vertical rectangular windows high up -one to each bay. The exterior walls are in a pale orange, with the recessed window frames in a deeper hue.
The roofs are pitched and tiled, with the apse having four sectors beyond a very short gabled pitch.
The ancillary facilities are in a block abutting the church on the right hand side. The near edge of this bears the campanile, which is a thick slab containing two round-headed apertures and having a tiled cap. The right hand edge of the slab has a slight batter.
The windowless gabled façade is extremely simple. It is rendered in the same pale orange, and has a pair of large incised motifs flanking the door which consist of a vertical rectangle surmounted by a square. These are tricked out in the deeper hue.
The composition is saved from complete banality by the large round-headed mosaic above the door of Christ the King in a Byzantine style, seated on a throne with a royal blue background and zig-zag edging in red and sky blue. The royal blue and zig-zag are continued in a thin strip down to the ground either side of the door.
On the door lintel is a brief dedicatory inscription, and in the gable is a stone-carved copy of the coat-of-arms of Pope Pius XII. The gable roofline has a molded stone cornice.
The single nave has no side aisles. The plain walls are painted in white with a hint of pink, and the windows have clear glass. The roof is open, with wooden longitudinal rafters and transverse open triangular trusses. In contrast with the simplicity of the walls, the floor is in grey-veined marble with two strips of red marble bounding the central gangway between the pews. Similar strips follow the bottoms of the walls, which have polished travertine dados all round the interior.
The charming holy-water stoup is in bronze. A marble shell is affixed to a cloud patinated in blue, with four bronze cherubs frolicking all over it.
The Stations of the Cross are high-quality paintings modern paintings the historical-realistic style.
The font is irregularly octagonal, with short diagonal sides, in white marble. The front side has a green marble panel inlaid with an outline yellow square. It is in a little apsidal baptistery.
The main artistic interest lies in the sanctuary, which is in a flat-roofed apse (there is no triumphal arch). The ceiling has a deep molded entablature, the frieze of which is gilded and has an epigraph BVM assumpta ora pro nobis. The semi-circular ceiling itself has a large blank stucco tondo.
The corners are occupied by a pair of pilaster in grey granite, with derivative capitals charmingly ornamented with putti. Four more pilasters in the same style decorate the apse wall, supporting the entablature. In between the capitals the wall has panels with blank clypei or tondi.
The original altar is an aedicule in the Classical style, almost reaching the ceiling. It has a pair of grey granite Corinthian columns, with gilded capitals and supporting its own entablature posted out over the capitals.
The painting within is very large and round-headed, and depicts the Assumption of Our Lady. It looks 19th century, but is apparently contemporary with the church. On the apse walls either side of the altar are eight figurative mosaics, rather brightly coloured, depicting New Testament scenes.
The original altar gradino in red marble has been left, together with its original tabernacle. However, the altar in yellow veined marble has been brought forward. It matches the pulpit to the left, which displays the symbols of the four Evangelists in bronze.
There are actualy two tabernacles, the original traditional one just mentioned and an interesting one by the right-hand sanctuary pilaster which is designed like a large sunburst monstrance. The stem is a patinated bronze vine-trunk, the centre has gilded vine-leaves and grapes and the glory is in silver inlaid with turquoise.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 7:00, 9:00, 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 7:00, 8:30 (not summer), 10:00, 11:30, 18:00 (19:00 in summer).