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Santa Maria Madre dell’Ospitalità is a 21st century parish church at Via del Torraccio 252 in the suburb of Villa Verde, south of the Via Casilina in the Torre Gaia zone.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of "Our Lady, Mother of Hospitality".

History Edit

The parish of San Bernardino da Siena a Villa Verde was set up in 1982, but the original parish territory lacked cohesion. So, very quickly the new parish was divided and in 1985 the parish of Santa Maria dell'Ospitalità came into being.

Serious problems came about with its legal identity, which delayed the construction of a permanent church. A poor-quality prefabricated building was erected in 1985, but the legal situation was such that the parish priest was actually subject to a criminal prosecution. Under Italian secular law, a parish community must obtain formal recognition from the State before it can function as a corporate legal entity.

The permanent church was designed by Flavio Coppola and Marco Ischiboni, finally begun in 2007 and was completed in 2009.

Exterior Edit

Layout Edit

The plan of the church is rather unusual, being shield or heart shaped.

The back line of the main structure is a straight transverse, but attached to it is a shallow segmental apse which takes up most of its width. The shoulders of the "shield" are formed from two straight lines, the back pair diagonal and the front pair longitudinal. The front half of the plan comprises two gently out-curved lines which meet at an angle on the front end of the church's major axis.

A small rectangular annexe flanks the right hand longitudinal wall. Its companion on the left hand side is an extension of a larger annexe attached to the right hand far diagonal wall, and which contains the ferial chapel. The far left hand diagonal wall attaches to the parish and social centre, which is a very impressive range of buildings surrounding three sides of a garden courtyard to the left of the church.

Fabric Edit

The church has a reinforced concrete frame, but the exterior wall surfaces are revetted in honey-coloured stone ashlar slabs unless specified. The walls of the apse, and of the far diagonal and longitudinal walls where they are not abutted by ancillary structures, are blank. The apse wall does not meet the far diagonal walls, leaving room for a pair of wide window strips.

The curving front sides of the church are occupied by four truly massive piers on each side with the front pair being larger than the others. The smaller ones are trapezoidal in plan, but the main pair are irregularly pentagonal in plan. The surfaces are battered (sloping slightly), and these piers protrude both beyond the lines of the walls and above the roofline.

In between the first two piers and the next pair are two entrances. Each of these has a flat floating canopy which trapezoidal (again) in shape, with the door in glass and a large window occupying the space above up to the roofline. The fascias of these canopies are in dark chocolate brown.

Between the other piers on each side are large white panels, which have narrow window strips down their near edges and along their tops.

The roof sits below a parapet, which is a deep set of eaves in the chocolate brown. There are three zones, the central longitudinal one being flat and the two side ones shallowly pitched. The apse roof is entirely taken up by a glass skylight, sloping towards the front.

Façade Edit

The entrance façade is spectacular, involving the two enormous front piers which have vertical inner faces but the others slanting inwards, and towering higher than the church roof.

In between these is a large chocolate brown panel with a cross motif formed by glazed slits. The cross is flanked by two irregular forms in yellow, vaguely suggesting a distant landscape. This cross-panel is sheltered by a triangular canopy with a rounded point, which is actually the near end of the church's roof. In between it and the canopy is an inverted staircase of eight steps, the top one tallest and furthest out. These eight surfaces are brightly coloured in a quadrilateral forms, the lower ones in dark brown, orange and red but with the brown turning to yellow and the orange turning lighter in the top ones.

Interior Edit

Nave Edit

The interior surfaces are in white, except for the apse wall which is in light brown limestone blocks and the wall piers which are in the same honey-coloured stone as on the outside. The floor is in irregularly shaped limestone slabs

In the middle of the nave is the font, which has a polychrome relief of The Baptism of Christ.

The church contains a modern ceramic icon in relief of Our Lady, Mother of Hospitality by Angelo Biancini. This is a recent devotion, approved by Bl Pope Paul VI.

The ferial or Blessed Sacrament chapel is through a portal to the upper right.

Sanctuary Edit

The very unusual crucifix behind the altar gives a splash of colour to an otherwise subdued interior. It is dagger-shaped and built up of stacked wooden baulks and planks with the corpus painted over them, on a mosaic background in speckled azure blue.

Access Edit

The church is open daily from 7:00 to 20:00, according to the parish website.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website:

Weekdays 9:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 10:00, 12:00.

The diocesan web-page has different times.

Exterior links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

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