Cappella dei Salesiani is a former later 20th century convent chapel at Via della Pisana 1111 in the Ponte Galeria zone.
THE FUTURE OF THIS CHAPEL IS SERIOUSLY IN DOUBT.
The Salesians of St John Bosco have had a major presences in Rome since the later 19th century, and in 2018 the Diocese listed 352 members in the city.
They had their original Roman headquarters at Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio, but in 1967 initiated a project for a huge new Generalate on a country site outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare. The architect was Tommaso Valle, and the work was completed in 1969.
In 2017, the Salesians were forced to leave. They had been left a large legacy, but the will was successfully disputed by family members after the congregation had received the money. The legal dispute was very badly botched, and the result was that the property was sequestered in lieu of the debt arising.
It is currently (2019) unclear as to what the future of the chapel here will be, or if it is already deconsecrated.
The Generalate is now at Via Marsala 42.
The convent complex is a huge congeries of flat-roofed multi-storey ranges in red brick, with flat roofs. The main blocks are arranged in three parallel lines, with perpendicular wings and connecting ranges.
However, the chapel is aligned on a diagonal to these. It is a complex structure, but the plan begins with a square with the major axis on a diagonal. The far corner is cut off on a transverse line running across from the midpoints of the far sides, and the other three corners are rounded. The two near sides each have a small triangular embrasure about midway. The resulting layout is for the nave.
A shallow trapezoidal transept then follows, with the shorter transverse side of the trapezoid at the far end. This line is slightly incurved. An irregularly lenticular sanctuary is fitted into this incurve, and has the far side much more strongly curved than the near side. The sanctuary is also substantially wider than the transept.
An exterior chapel on a square plan on the same alignment as the nave as regards its two exterior walls but with the corner rounded again, is abutted as an annexe to the right of the transept and sanctuary. This is the Blessed Sacrament chapel.
The fabric is in orange-pink brick around a concrete frame, but most of the latter does not show in the exterior which is in blank brickwork of high quality.
The nave near side wall embrasures contain vertical strip fenestration, but otherwise the nave walls are featureless. The entrance is in the far left hand side wall, where it abuts the convent. The nave roof is flat within a very low parapet, but slopes up to the sanctuary and has a slight incurve. The transept roof is a continuation of it. Two shallow steps containing fenestration strips run across, one at the junction between nave and transept and the other between the embrasures. The roofing is in copper sheeting, with the joins parallel to the major axis. Two little floating concrete canopies cover the embrasures, and the roof runs onto the tops of these. Their corners are rounded.
The transept has a right angled window on each side, fitted in between the sloping roof and a concrete support beam. The Blessed Sacrament chapel roof is in a pink composition, is horizontally flat and is at the level of the right hand window's sill beam. A huge free-standing cross in concrete is inserted into the angle where the Blessed Sacrament Chapel wall meets that of the nave.
The sanctuary is completely distinct from the nave. It is in the form of a tall lenticular tower, having a flat roof with a deep parapet. The roof has sixteen circular glass skylights, of two different sizes. The curved back wall is completely blank, but the front adjoining the transept is complicated. The wall above the transept roof is also completely blank, but the transept itself is flanked by a pair of sets of three tall longitudinal slab beams. These protrude above the roof, and have incurved diagonal top edges. The heights of the beams in each set increase towards the major axis. The outer one and middle one are very close to each other, but the middle one is set back to form a step in the elevation. The middle one and outer one are aligned and further apart, bounding a tall window strip set diagonally facing outwards. Just before the corner of the tower is another window strip, but the fenestration in this one is aligned with the wall. Both window strips are topped by tall concrete lintels at roof level, and breaks in the parapet above them.
The same fine brickwork is as evident in the interior as in the exterior, but here the concrete framework is more on view. The curving brick back wall has eight thin concrete pilasters, flanking a large traditional crucifix.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is on the right. The tabernacle is free-standing, with a door having four square panels with pietra dura work representing the symbols of the four Evangelists. It is surrounded by coloured glass depicting blue and red flames. The tabernacle base is a slab, on which is a realistic depiction of three ears of wheat in silver gilt.