Santa Maria Immacolata alla Giustiniana refers to two churches, a mid 20th century parish church at Via Cassia 1286 and its 17th century predecessor at number 1294. These are in the centre of the suburb of La Giustiniana, north-east of the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale). A picture of the church at Wikimedia Commons is here.
This church and chapel are in the municipality of Rome, but belong to the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.
The old chapel belongs to a farmstead, the Casale della Giustiniana, which is the origin of the name of the suburb. This was a resting point on the ancient Via Cassia for those on their way to and from Rome, and a chapel here apparently functioned in mediaeval times.
The present building is 17th century. It only had to serve a small and scattered rural population until the nearby railway was built. In the later 19th century it was made dependent on the Jesuit clergy at Sant'Ignazio alla Storta, as the presence of the La Giustiniana train station was encouraging a little suburban development and so a purely private chaplaincy was no longer appropriate.
In 1908, the chapel was entrusted to a mission society called the Pia opera della coltura spirituale dell'Agro romano, which was mostly interested in the welfare of rural peasants (terroni) in the Roman Campagna. The location was still basically a country hamlet. The Pia opera stayed in charge until after the Second World War, when suburban development became significant.
In 1954, it was decided that the status of a rural mission chapel was no longer suitable for pastoral needs. So, the chapel was entrusted to the Piccola Opera della Divina Provvidenza which supervised the foundation of a full parish in the following year. The old chapel functioned as the parish church for as long as it took for the new church to be built nearby.
The administration of the parish is now with the Figli di Maria Immacolata.
The old church is now part of a retail outlet called Bambù Art Giustiniana, and might be deconsecrated.
Old chapel Edit
The small old chapel is a simple building on a rectangular plan, with a little bell-cote or campanile perched over the left hand side of the far wall. The edifice hides behind trees and a high wall, and is invisible from the road.
New church layout and fabric Edit
The new church is on a rectangular plan, having a nave of nine bays. There is a very shallow sanctuary of slightly narrower width but of the same height.
The fabric consists of a reinforced concrete frame, with infill in pink brick, with a single gable pitched and tiled roof. The side walls have the bays separated by light grey concrete piers, with blank brick walls in between. These side walls have a slight batter or slope. The piers support the roofline, but the walls do not reach it but leave a space for a recessed window strip.
The sanctuary has a blank back wall, and its side walls in concrete. A vertical row of three thin vertical rectangular windows abuts the last pier of the nave on the left hand side, but only two on the right because of the presence of a block housing the priests' accommodation and parish offices.
New church façade Edit
The church stands some distance from the road, and has its approach formally laid out with a straight driveway aimed at the façade and having an avenue of trees.
The façade is a blank, windowless pink brick wall running up to a gable. It is slightly battered at the sides, revealing the first pair of nave side piers. The sloping tops of these are at the actual roofline of the church behind -the façade gable is actually false, with nothing behind it.
On the wall is a large bronze statue of Our Lady as the Immaculate Conception (no Christ-child), surrounded by twelve stars arranged as an arch. There is a simple cross above this, in the gable, which looks as if it used to be the finial on the gable which fell off and was re-affixed.
The monumental and rather complicated single entrance porch or prothyrum encloses a large doorway with a stone door-case having a single incised groove. The brick wall shows between this door-case and the prothyrum. The latter is in a dark grey stone, and is five-sided with a gable. The portion at the level of the door-case lintel is brought forward, and supported on corbels in the form of stylised lilies. There is a transom, enclosing a blank rectangular recessed panel fitting into the gable. This transom is the edge of a concrete slab forming the roof of the porch.
The sides of the prothyrum each have a rectangular portal, with the top portion of its white stone frame also brought forward.
Mass is celebrated (the information is rather old):
Weekdays 8:30, 18:00 (18:30 during DST);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 18:00.
The old chapel seems not to be in liturgical use. However, there is a public Mass centre at Santa Barbara nel Castello della Castelluccia fairly close by -although no liturgical functions are being advertised.