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Cappella dell'Istituto "Saint Dominique" is a mid 20th century school chapel at Via Cassia 1171, in the La Giustiniana zone.

The patron of the institution is St Dominic.

The chapel is in the city of Rome, but in the territory of the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.

Status Edit

Looking at this edifice, you might think that it was a parish church. However, it is merely a private chapel and it's not even clear whether it is still in use (see end of next section). Further, it seems uncertain whether it is actually still part of the school or if it has been sold off to somebody else.

History Edit

The chapel is, or was, attached to a French-language school called the Institut Saint-Dominique. This was founded by the Congrégation Romaine de Saint Dominique, itself founded in 1957 by the consolidation of seven separate French congregations of Dominican teaching sisters.

The enormous convent complex was built on the Via Cassia a little later, in 1960. It comprises a massive five-storey school block, a lower convent complex and the separate chapel with ancillary accommodation. Perhaps the latter was originally intended as having a public or parochial ministry as well as serving the convent and school.

At present the sisters seem to own the school, but it is administered by lay staff. The former convent building to the south is now the "Regal Park Hotel", which is not run by the congregation either but is a commercial enterprise. The chapel is now rather cut off from the school, to the south.

It is possibly useful to note that this congregation has no presence in the actual diocese of Rome, despite its name.

Appearance Edit

This edifice is huge for a private chapel, and the sisters in the late Fifities obviously had more money than sense.

The plan is based on a cross. There is a single nave of four shallow bays, then a transept with short arms followed by a sanctuary of the same size as the nave. An interesting feature of the design is that an arcaded loggia wraps around both ends, running from the transept around front and back and so back to the other end of the transept. This makes the overall footprint of the chapel almost rectangular, as the transept ends protrude very slightly beyond the loggias.

The fabric consists of a concrete frame with red brick infill. The single pitched and tiled roof has four gables meeting at a point over the transept, and the eaves rest on white slightly protruding cornices. The loggia roofs are flat, and their arcades are in white stone without decorations. The rooflines have pin balustrades with the pierced stone panels featuring diagonal crosses or X's.

The second to fourth nave bays and the first to third nave bays each have a white-framed round-headed window in each side wall. This has thin mullions in the form of a Latin cross. The transept ends, façade and sanctuary end each have three such windows, conjoined in a row. The gables above these have white pediments.

The transept ends are each divided horizontally by a thin white string course at the loggia roofline level. This is supported by a pair of flush broad white pilasters, separating three more windows. A white band runs across each end below the string course. Two more pilasters occupy the corners, and the frame of the middle window has a white extension connecting it to the band mentioned.

External links Edit

Info.roma web-page

School website

Congregation's website

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