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Santa Maria Immacolata a Grottarossa

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Santa Maria Immacolata a Grottarossa is a 20th century Fascist-era parish and titular church at Via Flaminia 994 in the Grottarossa zone, north of the Milvian Bridge. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the aspect of her Immaculate Conception.

History Edit

This church was built in advance for its parish in 1935, the parish itself being set up two years later. In fact, it was provided as part of the facilities of a large rural farming estate called Fattoria di Grottarossa developed by the Piacentini family after they acquired the land from the Papal government in 1862. In 1902 the estate was purchased by Ettore Molinario, a banker and coffee merchant from Ivrea. He initiated substantial improvements twenty years later, including a large villa for himself, and the church was intended for the workers on the estate. Suburban development only followed after the Second World War.

The church was made titular in 1985, the present cardinal priest being Henryk Roman Gulbinowicz.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church has a cruciform plan. There is a single nave without aisles, and then a central transept with arms somewhat shorter than the nave. A sanctuary with the same length as the nave follows, and has an external segmental apse. The ends of the transept also have segmental apses, and are side chapels. Two smaller, square chapels are in the corners of the cross layout between nave and transept.

The sanctuary is flanked by two two-storey sacristy blocks, the one on the right joining onto the priests's house and that on the left to a tower campanile.

The exterior walls of the church are rendered in a light yellowish grey. There is one pitched and tiled cross-shaped roof covering nave, transept and sanctuary, and lower pitched and tiled roofs for the three apses and two small side chapels. The rooflines of all these are formed by projecting molded stone cornices. The windows are individual single-light round-headed apertures, a design feature of the church.

The tower campanile differs from the church in being in red brick, not rendered. A simple square brick tower is topped by a projecting cornice, above which is the bellchamber. This has a large arched soundhole on each side, and a tiled pyramidal cap. Each arch has a brick balustrade, and brick imposts continued as a string-course round each corner pier.

The church is a familiar landmark for those using the Via Flaminia Nuova trunk road.

Façade Edit

The entrance of the church is set back from the street, and is approached via a path through a garden.

There is a very simple grey façade with a gabled roofline. The single entrance is approached by a short flight of steps, and has a prothyrium or portico in mediaeval style. (Compare the genuinely old one at Santa Prassede.) A pair of sort-of Corinthian columns supports an archivolt below a gable with a projecting cornice and cross finial. The actual entrance within has an arched tympanum displaying a fresco.

Above the portico is a row of three round-headed windows. The middle one of these is slightly elevated compared to the other two, the design recalling the stylized mountains often seen on historic papal coats of arms in the Centro Storico. There is no other decoration.

Interior Edit

No information is available online about the interior of the church. The parish website seems to have no photos, and the writer has not visited.

Liturgy Edit

The current Mass schedule is on a page of the parish website here.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

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