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Santa Maria del Rosario in Prati

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Santa Maria del Rosario in Prati is an early 20th century parish and convent church with its postal address at Via Germanico 94 in the rione Prati, just south of the Ottaviani metro station. This is the convent -the main entrance of the church is at Via degli Scipioni 94 to the north. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.

Name Edit

The parish is administered by the Dominicans , and the dedication is hence to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary (they instigated the Rosary devotion).


The remote ancestor of the parish is the little church of San Lazzaro on the slopes of Monte Mario, which had an enormous but thinly populated parish at the start of the 19th century. This included what is now the rione Prati, then nothing but countryside.

The church was wrecked in a storm at the start of the 19th century, and in 1828 the parish was transferred to the Dominican convent church of Santa Maria del Rosario a Monte Mario. However, after 1870 the Prati district was rapidly urbanized and the location of this church became very inconvenient. As a result, the Dominicans instigated a project to build a large new parish church in Prati to replace the convent church, but with the same dedication.

The new church was structurally complete in 1912. In that year, the Monte Mario parish territory was divided and half went to the church of San Giuseppe al Trionfale. The southern portion was kept for the new parish church, which was consecrated in 1916 after the interior was fitted out.

There is confusion over the architects. Info.roma has a team of "Giuseppe Rambaldi", Guglielmo Palombi and Carlo Del Pelo Pardi. The first-named is also rendered elsewhere as "Raibaldi" and "Ribaldi".

The church is in an interesting Gothic Revival version of the neo-Romanesque style which is more familiar in Rome -here, round arches are replaced with pointed ones. This is allegedly in commemoration of the former Dominican headquarters in Rome, Santa Maria sopra Minerva which was The Only Gothic Church in Rome before the 19th century (a statement that then ceased to be true with new churches like this, although it is still asserted).


Layout Edit

This is an impressive church, but unfortunately it occupies the central section of a city block and is flanked by tall buildings which compromise its civic identity. It is worthwhile looking at both the front and the back, but to view the latter you have to walk some way down the Via Catone from the Via Germanico.

The plan is basilical, with a central nave of five and a half bays having side aisles. The half bay is at the entrance end. There follows the sanctuary, which is a five-sided apse of the same width as the central nave. There is no apse.

A tower campanile is adjacent to the right hand side of the apse. Behind the latter is the convent, which is a single block on the Via Germanico of the same width as the nave with its aisles.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is in brick, with much limestone used. The side aisles are flat-roofed, and because of adjacent buildings are completely blank-walled. The central nave walls rise high above the aisles, and are rendered in a dull red (which in 2016 was peeling to reveal the pink undercoat). The nave bays are separated by buttress pilasters which do not reach the roofline, but terminate in little tiled pitches. Each bay has a single-light Gothic window in each of its side walls, as well as a tiny Gothic window just below the roofline which lights the space above the vault.

The apse has a tall Gothic window in each of its far three sides, as well as a tiny Gothic window like those in the nave. The apse walls were also rendered in the same red colour, but they have weathered and are now almost all pink.

The main roof is gable-pitched and tiled, and covers both nave and apse. The latter has three sector pitches.

Campanile Edit

The campanile to the right of the apse can be viewed from the Via Catone. It is a square red brick tower of two storeys above the level of the aisle roof, with a tiled pyramidal cap. The cap projects strongly, over a cornice with widely space modillions. There is another cornice separating the two storeys, much less prominient. The corners of both storeys are occupied by wide blind pilasters in white, which meld with a frieze below the cornice. This frieze has five pendant Gothic arches.

The three free faces of the first storey each have a large unglazed single-light Gothic aperture. The bell-chamber storey above has a two-light Gothic aperture in each face, with wheel tracery in the point. All these apertures are framed in flush brickwork, but the keystone is in limestone.

Façade Edit

The church's façade is in naked red brick, with architectural details in white limestone.

The gabled single-storey central nave frontage is framed by two blind limestone pilasters (without capitals) rising from ground to roofline. Where the sloping aisle rooflines meet these, is a pair of mosaic heraldic shields in molded square frames. The pilasters meld with a frieze below the gable roofline, which has pendant Gothic arches on tiny corbels and is below a cornice with modillions.

The pointed-arched main entrance has a tympanum containing a mosaic of Our Lady being crowned as Queen of Heaven. Doorway and tympanum are recessed, and are framed by four Corinthian orders, in turn (outside first): pilaster, column, pilaster, column. A raised string course runs across the entire façade at the level of the tops of the capitals. The outer pair of these pilasters support a stone frame for the arch, which itself has a gable top with a cornice having modillions.

Above the main entrance is a spectacular wheel window containing stained glass, set in a dished frame. The sixteen radial mullions are miniature columns with capitals, and the dished frame is embellished with coloured mosaic in a quatrefoil design.

The ends of the aisles have Gothic windows over smaller side entrances. The windows are recessed in a similar style to the entrance, and have lancet tracery with four vertical lights each. The pilasters of the windows continue downwards to frame the doors, which is very incorrect in the context of the Gothic style. The string course of the façade intersects the windows at the tops of their pilaster capitals.


Nave Edit

The rich interior has a high narrow central nave of five bays and two side aisles, the roof of the nave having a Gothic cross-vault with the nave bays divided by transverse ribs. The central nave walls have single-light Gothic windows with stained glass.

The arcades have Gothic arches with polychrome clustered columns, horizontally broadly banded in orange and white. The inner sides of these columns are continued up the nave walls to support the vault springers, meaning that the column capitals are split. The vaults themselves have polychrome decoration by Giovanni Battista Conti.

The side aisles contain chapels. The second on the left has a venerated statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Sanctuary Edit

The main altar has a gilded Gothic triptych depicting Our Lady of the Rosary, with side panels depicting St Dominic and St Catherine of Siena. The frontal and altar have Cosmatesque decoration. The altar is by Giovanni Lugari, who also executed those in the side chapels. The paintings are by Tito Troja (according to a contemporary description written after the consecration -"R. Gagliardi" is also claimed as the artist).

The pulpit or ambo to the left is in white marble, with rich Cosmatesque decoration including the twisted columns on which it stands.

A large polychrome statue of the Madonna and Child is to the right, in a free-standing gilded Gothic shrine.

In the polygonal apse are three tall lancet windows, with stained glass which depicts the Mysteries of the Rosary. The designs were by Duilio Cambelotti, and the execution by Cesare Picchiarini.

Access Edit

According to the parish website, the church is open:

7:00 to 12:00 (13:00 on Sundays and Solemnities), 16:00 to 20:30.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 7:30, 10:30, 18:00, 19:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 18:00, 19:30.

As this is a convent church, the Divine Office is celebrated:

Weekdays, Office of Readings and Lauds 8:00 and Vespers 20:00;

Sundays and Solemnities, Lauds (only) 8:30 and Vespers 18:45.

Rosary is recited daily at 17:30.

There is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Thursday of the month at 17:00, and on the third Thursday at 21:00.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

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