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Santa Maria a San Vittorino

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Santa Maria a San Vittorino is an 18th century subsidiary parish church in Via di San Vittorino, in the village and zone of San Vittorino. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This church is in the municipality of Rome, but belongs to the diocese of Tivoli.

History Edit

The ancestor of the church was a chapel attached to a rural farmstead (casale), of the sort familiar in the Roman Campagna until suburban development began in the late 19th century.

The story behind the rebuilding is that an icon of Our Lady was found in a field near the town of Poli and brought here. The townsfolk of Poli obtained its return, but the icon miraculously made its way back to San Vittorino and so the chapel was rebuilt to honour it. This was done in 1703.

In the 18th century also the farmstead was rebuilt, slightly nearer the village on the other side of the road. This Casale di San Vittorino has a statue of Our Lady in a niche over the portal.

There has never been a genuine pastoral need for the church, which exists owing to devotion to the icon. Sadly, this meant that it fell into disuse at the end of the 20th century. However, a few years ago (2016) there was a restoration under the aegis of the Amici di San Vittorino which is based across the road at number 268. The church is now part of a sports complex. It is in good repair, but apparently is not regularly used.

ExteriorEdit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church is a simple little building, on a rectangular plan. It stands closely parallel to the street, at a slight angle with the near right hand corner edging the street. The original priest's house is attached to the back, and the various and rather messy structures of the sports complex abut on the left hand side.

The brick walls are now rendered in a cream colour, and stand on low stone plinths. Each side wall has two sets of windows, each in a single vertical rectangular frame in slight relief. The nave window set comprises a round-headed window with a square window above, but the sanctuary set has a round window instead of the square one.

The roof is flat, and has a very low parapet on either side. This is above a molded cornice which bears a line of tiles.

Attached to the top right hand corner of the sanctuary is a little tower campanile in bare brown brick, on a transverse rectangular plan and with a square sound-hole in each side at the top. There is no cap.

Façade Edit

The church faces onto a piazza which is basically a wide place in the street but which contains a mature holm oak tree sheltering a water-supply fountain (not a decorative one) and a wooden cross on a plinth which looks like an ancient piece of stonework

The façade has two pilasters in shallow relief at the corners, which have short extensions of the molded side cornices in lieu of capitals. The side parapets are fronted by a pair of vertical rectangular box plinths standing on these cornice fragments -rather alarmingly, these are functioning as plant-pots for two evergreen shrubs. The top of the façade in between these plinths is given by a pair simple up-curving cornices joined by a short horizontal section in the middle on which a wire cross finial stands.

The single entrance has a molded stone door-case, rather eroded and perhaps from the original chapel that pre-dated the 18th century rebuilding. It is flanked by a pair of square windows with broad frames in relief, set low down. Above is a horizontal ovoid window, not elliptical but only having a vertical axis of symmetry. This contains very simple stained glass in the form of a cross.

In between the lintel and window is a small marble dedication tablet reading Deiparae virgini dicatum, fidelium eleemosyinis aedificatum, anno MDCCXXX. ("Dedicated to the God-bearing virgin, built with the donations of the faithful, 1703"). The Barberini bees remind you of the family that was the patron, and a damaged heraldic shield of theirs is below the tablet.

InteriorEdit

The tiny interior is in pale pink, with architectural details in pale yellow and the flat plain ceiling in white. The four sets of windows are enclosed in blind Doric arches in shallow relief with molded archivolts, and blind and rather pointless pilasters in the side walls hint at a richer lost decoration.

The late Baroque altar is an impressive work in pink, grey marble and violet-veined marble with a matching tabernacle. It fits snugly into a tiny apse with conch (this intrudes into the priest's house behind), and is enclosed by another Doric arch the capitals of which are joined by a matching string course below the conch.

The miraculous icon, of the Madonna and Child in pastel colours, is in a green marble molded frame embellished with four gilded vine leaves. The frame intrudes onto the string course, and is completely surrounded by a white stucco glory containing clouds and four putti, on a pale blue background. This work completely fills the apse and conch above the altar.

Liturgy Edit

No information has been found as regards regular liturgical celebrations here.

External links Edit

WARNING -THE WEBSITE OF THE DIOCESE OF TIVOLI IS INFECTED WITH MALWARE (2016).

Parish website (not up to date)

Info.roma web-page

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