Santa Maria del Suffragio is a 17th century Baroque confraternity church at Via Giulia 59a, in the rione Ponte. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here. There is an English Wikipedia page here.
The church was designed by Carlo Rainaldi, and completed in 1669 for the Archconfraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Suffrage (Arciconfraternita della Santissima Vergine Maria del Suffragio), which still owns it.
This secular confraternity was founded at the neighbouring church of San Biagio della Pagnotta in 1592, in order to make intercession for the souls in Purgatory. They built a new church for themselves because San Biagio was proving too small for all the liturgical demands being made on it during its period as a parish church.
Interior decoration of the church continued until 1685.
There was a restoration by Tito Armellini in 1895.
Layout and fabricEdit
The church has a single nave, with structural side aisles divided into three separate chapels on each side by blocking walls and with a pair of custodians' chambers flanking the entrance. There is a pitched and tiled roof over the nave, and an lower one over the sanctuary.
The campanile is on the left hand side wall of the central nave, just behind the façade. It is a Baroque slab, containing three arched apertures in a triangle for the bells and a small crowning triangular pediment.
FaçadeEditThe simple two-storey façade has two pairs of Ionic pilasters framing the door in the first storey, and another two pairs either side of a large rectangular window in the second storey. The entablature dividing the storeys has a strongly projecting floating cornice above the four pilasters in the first storey.
The crowning triangular pediment has a segmental pediment wholly inserted.
The main entrance doorway has a triangular pediment, and in between each pair of main pilasters is a side entrance with a segmental pediment. The first storey has a large rectangular window at each end, and these with the side entrances do not belong to the church but to ancillary chambers flanking the single entrance.
The dirty and disused entrance to the right of the church, number 59/A, used to lead into the confraternity's private oratory which was fitted out at the same time as the church was built. It had an altarpiece by Ghezzi, showing The Madonna and Child with SS Joseph and Dominic.
Layout and fabricEdit
There is a single nave with a barrel vault pierced by lunettes, and three external side chapels on each side. The sanctuary is a square apse.
The original decoration of the church interior was restored by Tito Armellini in 1865, but the nave vault fresco of Our Lady Crowned Queen of Heaven is by Cesare Mariani, 1868.
The aedicule of the altar was designed by Rainaldi. The altarpiece of Our Lady with the Souls in Purgatory is by Giuseppe Ghezzi. The side wall frescoes are by Giovanni Battista Benaschi, depicting The Resurrection of Lazarus and Daniel in the Lions' Den. He also executed the Apotheosis of Our Lady in the vault.
Chapel of the NativityEdit
The first chapel on the right is dedicated to the Nativity. It has frescoes by Giovanni Battista Natali, depicting The Dream of Joseph, The Nativity and The Adoration of the Magi.
Here are memorials to Pietro-Martire Néri 1687, an artist from Cremona, and Gaspare Moroni 1678.
Chapel of the Holy FamilyEdit
The second chapel on the right is dedicated to the Holy Family and is the Cappella Petrosini, designed by Rainaldi. It has an altarpiece by Giuseppe Ghezzi. The picture of The Sacrifice of Isaac is by Girolamo Troppa, and that of The Dream of Jacob by Giacinto Calandrucci.
There are two 17th century family memorials here, in green marble.
The third chapel on the right is the artistically important Cappella Marcaccioni, fitted out by Giovanni Battista Contini. It has a Birth of Our Lady and an Adoration of the Magi by Giuseppe Chiari, important works by this artist which established his career at Rome. The vault is frescoed by Niccolò Berrettoni, but he could not finish the project and Chiari took over for the walls. The stucco work is by Paolo Naldini.
Here are memorials to Elena Papi Marcaccioni 1676, and Gaspare Marcaccioni 1674.
Chapel of the CrucifixEdit
There is a large wooden 18th century crucifix in the Cappella Pietralata, which is the third on the left. This chapel once had the scenes from the Passion of Christ frescoed on the walls by Lanfranco, replaced by family memorials. The crucifix is accompanied by twelve wooden carved reliefs.
Chapel of St Joseph CalasanzEdit
The first chapel on the left is dedicated to SS Hyacinth and Catherine of Siena, and is the Cappella Armellini. The altarpiece is by Daniel Seiter, Il Fiammingo, and the side wall frescoes are by Giovanni Battista Cimino from Florence.
Tito Armellini, who restored the church, was the father of Mariano Armellini, the famous historian of Roman churches and a disciple of the pioneer archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi. Mariano wrote with pride in 1891 that his master had composed the epitaph for his mother's memorial in this chapel -Adelaide Poggioli 1868.
The rector of the church applied for funds for an overdue restoration in 2012, so the church may be found closed for repairs (2014).
A recent unofficial source gave the following opening times:
Weekdays 7:00 to 8:00, 19:00 to 20:00.
Sundays 18:30 to 19:30.
A Mass was being celebrated on weekdays only at 7:15.