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Santa Monica al Lido di Ostia

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Santa Monica al Lido di Ostia is a later 20th century parish church at Piazza di Santa Monica 1, in the north-western part of Lido di Ostia. The zone is LdO Ponente.

The dedication is to St Monica, who died locally.

History Edit

The parish started with a curacy of the mother parish of Santa Maria Regina Pacis a Ostia Lido, which was set up in 1956 and which established a "church" in shop premises on the ground floor of an apartment block at Corso Duca di Genova 26. This remained the place of worship when an independent parish was founded in 1958.

The permanent church had its foundation stone laid in 1968, and was completed in 1972.

Online sources are coy about the identity of the architect -which is perhaps deliberate, because his work (not likely to have been a "her" back then) failed badly straight away. The Italian term for the result of this sort of thing is una cazzata. The edifice failed in one of the major functions of any building, which is to make sure that the rain outside STAYS OUTSIDE.

The parish had to spend a serious amount of money, which it didn't actually have, to put things right. The whole parish complex was unfit for use, until full restoration was finally achieved in 1987. The result is actually worth visiting -it's a pity that there are not more photos of the interior online.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The church is a two-storey flat-roofed edifice embedded in a rather messy collection of disparate structures within an overall rectangular one-storey layout. Further ancillary wings are attached to the right hand side of the rectangle.

The frame is in reinforced concrete, with pink brick used as infill.

The plan of the church is based on a Latin cross, formed of six conjoined concrete box-frames. The central one has a square plan, and to this is attached four rectangles forming short cross-arms. Finally, another rectangle is attached to the front forming an entrance bay. The first five units have flat roofs separated by support beams, but the entrance bay has its roof slightly higher.

The end of each cross arm is identically treated. The corners are occupied by a pair of thin square concrete piers, placed diagonally in the plan. Next to these are two vertical window strips, running from the roof of the ancillary zone to near the roof of the cross arm. Above each strip is a recessed brick panel with its top edge at the level of the roof. In between the window strips the frontage of each end is occupied by a brick wall with six vertical grooves dividing it into seven identical panels. This wall rises above the roof to form a parapet.

The entrance arm of the cross in the plan has another pair of the piers marking the join between the entrance bay and the second bay of the nave. The side walls of the cross arms are otherwise also in brick, and form parapets. In each of the four inner corners of the cross are two further walls occupying two sides of a square, and these are entirely in glass panes.

The brickwork of the walls is in bricks stacked vertically with long sides showing, and with no overlapping.

Façade Edit

The façade is set into a covered walkway, which runs to either side for the entire length of the ancillary block but not in front of the entrance. The gap in the walkway in front of the entrance frontage of the church is occupied by a closed flat-roofed porch with its front in glass panes. This has a concrete cross in the centre of its roofline.

The central wall of the frontage above bears a large sculptural relief in greenish grey concrete, in the form of a stylised set of the Keys of Peter.

The church has no proper campanile, but if you look at the top of the walkway roof to the right of the entrance you will see a little metal frame containing a single bell.

Those looking at the parish website need to be aware that the main photo of the church frontage was taken using a fish-eye lens.

Interior Edit

The interior walls show the same brickwork as outside. The flat roofs are supported by horizontal concrete beams.

The six units in the church plan are distinguished by massive horizontal slab-beams with the slab faces vertical. These divide the first and second storeys, and support side galleries. On their faces are a set of long rectangular polychrome resin reliefs showing scenes from the life of St Monica, by Lea De Angelis assisted by Aldo Leonardi.

The best thing about the church is the figurative stained glass, recalling 17th century work but with bright colours. This is by Oscar Zorzi, was initially installed in 1981 but had to be re-done in the restoration in 1987. Try to spot the elephant.

Other artworks are: The bronze tabernacle by Falegnami, the altar by Trenta, the crucifix by Abballe and a set of depictions of The Story of Salvation by Cosimo Gorgoni.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 18:00 (19:00 May to September).

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

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