Santa Maria Maddalena De' Pazzi is a late 20th century parish church at Via Giovanni Zanardini 74, south of the Via Nomentana in a new part of the suburb of Casal de' Pazzi which here is in the Pietralata quarter.
The parish was set up in 1976, and dedicated to St Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi because its territory contains the Casal de' Pazzi. This is an old fortified farmhouse which used to belong to the saint's family, and so took its name.
The permanent church was completed in 1983, to a design by Carlo Bevilacqua and Anna-Maria Feci.
The church is part of a sports and social centre for the new suburban neighbourhood. It is a strong contender for the status of the new Roman church which looks as least as possible like a traditional church building. Also, it has absolutely no civic presence and there is no façade as such.
The compact building has a plan assembled from several units, together fitted into a square overall -although not all of the square is occupied.
The church itself is a transverse rectangle, with a small transverse rectangular apse and with its far walls flanking this slightly out of line with each other. Behind the apse is a small rectangular ferial or weekday chapel. To the left of this chapel is an entrance porch, occupying a small side of the chapel rectangle and the left hand side of the apse. In other words, the church entrance is adjacent to the sanctuary.
An L-shaped parish office block encloses a small square courtyard to the right of the apse, behind the right hand far wall of the church. A strip of ancillary accommodation in two storeys runs down the right hand side of the church, and for two-fifths of the front elevation. The other three-fifths of the latter is a service block, which also extends in a strip flanking the left hand side of the church.
The entire building is low, in reinforced concrete which is left exposed. The service block mentioned above is windowless.
The most interesting thing about the structure is the roof. The sanctuary has above it a large square skylight, surrounded by a flat rectangular area including the apse. Then the church roof steps up in flat three-sided strips, there being four of these steps before the roof of the service and parish accommodation which is at the highest level. The parish office block has three steps up from the courtyard, each step in the form of an L, before reaching the same outer edge roof level. The ferial chapel has three steps down from the apse, each step again being L-shaped with the bottom one also providing a floating canopy to the left of the entrance on arriving.
A ramp runs from the ground up to the church roof, in between the ferial chapel and the parish offices.
This complicated roof form is discernible on Google Earth.
As mentioned, there is no proper façade. The street frontage is occupied by a large and unadorned car park, backed by urban parkland in which the church stands. A walkway runs from this to the entrance, along the left hand far wall of the church. This has a canopy in clear glass, in the form of a semi-cylinder supported by steel girders.
The interior is dominated by the concrete roof, which has the same form as the outside. That is, there is a central square skylight over the altar surrounded by four ascending steps occupying three sides of the interior space. The seating arrangements for the congregation mimic this, occupying three sides of the transverse rectangular interior.
The interior of the skylight is also stepped, in three steps like a little stepped pyramid.
The otherwise rather plain white interior in enlivened by large windows to the left and in the far right hand wall, which contain abstract stained glass in the form of diagonal strips of various colours. The glass screen doors in the far left hand wall have the same design.
The free-standing altar has its corners stepped inwards down from the mensa, in L-shaped steps.
The far wall of the sanctuary has five large icons in very correct Byzantine style. The central one depicts The Three Angels and Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, to the left is The Nativity and to the right is The Resurrection. Icon portraits of Christ and Our Lady flank these three.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 7:45, 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00 (not summer), 11:30 (11:00 in summer), 19:00.
"Summer" here is from 19 June to 4 September.