Cappella del Pontificio Collegio San Pietro is a mid 20th century college chapel at Via delle Mura Aurelie 4 on the Janiculum, in the Aurelio quarter.
The dedication of the institution is to St Peter the Apostle.
The college here occupies part of the original grounds of the Villa del Vascello, an important building unfortunately seriously damaged in 1849. After subdivision, the Villa Casale was built here.
The college was founded in 1946, taking over the above-mentioned villa -the Casa Vecchia. Its purpose was to train young priests from missionary territories to fill leadership roles, so as to ensure future native episcopal hierarchies in these countries.
The first chapel of the Casa Vecchia was fitted out by the Franciscan Ugolino da Belluno, and had its altar consecrated in 1948.
The premises were soon inadequate, and proposals for a large complex called the Casa Novissima were made in 1955. However, the city authorities objected managed to block any progress in that decade and the complex was only competed in 1969. The original architect was Clemente Busiri Vici, but the work was completed by his son Saverio. See Cappella del Pontificio Collegio San Paolo for another college chapel by this partnership.
Renovations of the entire ensemble, Vecchia and Novissima, were completed in 2013.
Layout and fabric Edit
The Busiri Vici chapel is an impressive church-size building, which could easily do duty as a modern parish church. It is built over a crypt and on the other side of the main building from the road, and so invisible from any public location.
The plan is rectangular, with a trapezoidal three-sided apse. Nave and apse are of the same height, and share a flat roof with parapet.
This is basically a high box in what seems to be reinforced concrete rendered in a pale tan colour. The nave does not obviously divide into bays, but the central half of each side is occupied by a narrow and lower side aisle. Above each of these is a row of nine narrow vertical rectangular windows without any embellishments. The roofline is occupied by a projecting cornice with modillions (little brackets), and this is in white.
The back and right hand side of the chapel are occupied by single-storey ancillary structures. To the right of the façade, at the end of an arcaded passage from the main building, is the odd campanile which is substantially lower than the chapel. The main body of this is a large vertical rectangular slab in white limestone bearing a clock face in a molded rectangular frame. Two thinner and slightly lower slabs, a little set back, connect this to the chapel on the left and the arcaded passage on the right. The top of the main slab is marked by a cornice of two thin string courses, and above this is the bell-housing. It is a bell-cote with a tall angle-topped aperture, and a matching very shallow-angled gable.
The central part of the façade is revetted in white limestone, slightly projecting and reaching the cornice (displacing the modillions). Above this on the cornice is a pseudo-pediment consisting of a shallow-angled low parapet, and on this in turn is an open metalwork sculpture representing a globe and cross with an epigraph ribbon.
The singly molded entrance portal has over it a sculptured heraldic device, and over this in turn is a large inscription cut directly into the stonework without any frame. Above this is a row of five round-headed windows.
The interior is in white, apart from square piers separating the two side aisles from the main nave. These are in deep crimson.