Santa Maria del Buon Consiglio a Porta Furba is an early and mid 20th century parish church at Via Tuscolana 613, in the Tuscolano quarter near the Porta Furba Quadraro metro station. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.
The church was designed by Constantino Sneider in a derivative neo-Romanesque style, and opened in 1916. He was Architect of the Papal Palaces, and his real name was Konstantin Schneider.
At that time, the church was dependent on the (then very large) parish of San Giovanni in Laterano. However, its own parish was established in 1919.
The first church edifice was actually small, having a short nave with aisles followed by an apse. This proved inadequate, and a major amplification was performed in 1955 by Paolo Stefani. He demolished the apse, built a very large transept and rebuilt the apse on the other side of it. He stayed faithful to the style of the extant fabric.
In 1963 the apse was frescoed by Carlo Mariani, and in 1988 an attractive terracotta relief of Our Lady was commissioned for the façade.
The sanctuary was re-arranged in the early Seventies, and there was a further re-modelling in 2002.
Layout and fabric Edit
The plan is T-shaped, with a central nave of three bays having aisles. Then comes the enormous transept, which is slightly wider than the nave with aisles and deeper than the central nave is wide. Finally there is the sanctuary, which is an external semi-circular apse with a conch.
The church is constrained by tall buildings on either side of its frontage, so the exterior walls are not visible from the entrance. However, in Via Santa Maria del Buon Consiglio to the left the transept and apse can be examined. The exterior walls are rendered in a dull red (peeling in 2016), with a large round-headed window in the transept end wall flanked by two smaller and narrower ones. Another round-headed window is inserted into the front and back wall of each transept, and the nave side walls each have a row of three under the rooflines. The apse is windowless.
The roofing style is unusual, as a result of the Fifties remodelling. The central nave roof is pitched and tiled, while the aisle roofs are flat. The transept is roofed under a single pitch, having the ridge-line transverse and with the roof as a whole slightly higher than the one on the nave.
There is no campanile. The two bells are hung in a metal frame attached unusually to the building next door on the left, and these are accessed by a metal spiral staircase.
The single-storey façade is of pink brick, and is dominated by a large round-headed doorway in white marble, with Corinthian pilasters doubletted at their inner corners. The simplified capitals of these are in dark grey, and the arch above is painted in two wide zones of white below and light tan-yellow above. There is a thin dark grey stripe in the white, and a light grey one dentillated in white in the tan. An unpainted terracotta relief of the Madonna and Child is in the tympanum, enclosed by a white archivolt.
Above the doorway is a string course also painted light tan-yellow, and on this is a row of three round-headed windows with the glass in each forming a Latin cross. At the corners of the façade are two broad blind brick pilasters at which the string course stops. The roofline has a cornice with modillions (little stone brackets) and below these is a blank frieze melding with the pilasters. This zone of brickwork is decorated with thirteen small pendant arches supported by tiny stone corbels. There is a pair of matching corbels in between the three windows.
The aisle frontages are separately treated in the design. The aisle doors are slightly smaller than the main door, and have plain marble cases. Above each is a round window, with a Greek cross in red glass. The roofline is horizontal.
The aisle arcades are walled in to form separate chapels entered by rectangular portals, with galleries inserted into the arches above. Each arcade pier has a half-round grey granite column with a Corinthian capital, and these semi-columns support two transverse masonry arches which in turn support the roof. These, like the walls, are painted in white and edged in tan-yellow and dark grey. The capitals of the semi-columns are connected by a string course in the same stone, which is also used in the archivolts of the arches below and in the parapets and bases of the slightly protruding gallery balconies.
The pitched ceilings are in varnished wood, coffered in squares and decorated with geometric motifs rather like mediaeval encaustic tiling.
The transept has its crossing made distinct from its two ends by the insertion of two longitudinal arches supported on further columns. There is a shallow niche-chapel enclosed by a simple granite arch in each far wall. At the re-modelling the left hand end was converted into a baptistery, and the chapel here now has a wooden sculpture of the Risen Christ. The right hand far wall chapel is now the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the tabernacle having been moved from the apse. Here is a copy icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel, executed in 1923 (the original is at her sanctuary at Genazzano).
The sanctuary apse has a triumphal arch with thin piers, fitted within the far columns of the two transept arches.
The apse is completely occupied by a large fresco in a realistic style, in two registers. This is by Carlo Mariani 1988. The main register, which includes the conch, features the Madonna and Child adored by angels in the centre. She is being venerated by a family, and by Blessed Pope Paul VI. The Annunciation is depicted to the left and Our Lady, Queen of Apostles being waited on by SS Peter and John to the right. The lower register features Doctors of the Church, with Pope St John XXIII in the middle.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, June 2018):
Weekdays 8:00, 9:00 (not July to September), 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:30 (not July to September), 10:30, 11:45 (not July to September), 18:30.
Rosary is recited daily from 18:00 until the evening Mass.
There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Saturdays from 17:00 to 18:00.