Cappella di Villa Galanti is a marriage venue chapel, apparently early 21st century, located at Via del Casale di San Nicola 241 in the La Storta zone.
The chapel is in the territory of the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.
Do not confuse it with Cappella del Casale di San Nicola, down the road.
The country estate of the Tenuta di San Nicola was bought by Cardinal Ottavio Acquaviva the Elder in 1608, and a small villa or Casino built for him. This survives as the Casale di Acquaviva at the end of the Via del Casale di Acquaviva, a dead-end country lane paralleling the Via del Casale di San Nicola.
However, the working farmstead for the estate was not there but at the present Villa, and was also rebuilt at about the same time. Info.roma calls this the Casale Secondario di Acquaviva. The extant farmhouse is, apparently, mostly 18th century.
This ordinary Campagna farmstead has been transformed into an amazingly ornate wedding and hospitality venue by one Dottore Timoteo Galanti, who has demonstrated a puckish sense of humour in the process. He must be commended for creating this delightful barocchetto moderne layout, featuring patterned polychrome paving, unusual water features and well thought-out gardens. The farm buildings have been thoroughly remodelled to include a little stand-alone chapel and, winsomely, a grain silo has become the Suite degli Sposi where the newlyweds can spend their first night. This edifice has to be seen to be believed -it has an external covered spiral staircase.
There are several of these countryside wedding venues around Rome now which, even among practising Catholics, are proving a popular alternative to the long-established Centro Storico marriage circuit involving many of the historic churches. The cost of hiring one of these is surprisingly low, but the provision of facilities for the reception can prove both onerous and expensive. A countryside venue such as this one here has all the catering on site, and at a very good rate.
Added bonuses are that car parking is easy, and that children are taken care of and kept entertained.
Layout and fabric Edit
The stand-alone chapel seems to be a conversion of an ancillary farm building, perhaps a stable. If so, the fabric could date from any time within the last three hundred years.
The plan is that of a shortish rectangle. There is a little semi-circular sanctuary apse, and another smaller apsidal annexe attached to the far left hand side.
As with the other buildings, the entire exterior is rendered in a bright yellow which contrasts well with the terracotta red in the paving. Three large round-headed windows occupy the right hand side, with their sills low down (former doorways?).
The roof is gabled, and in tile. The two apses have their own lower roofs, tiled in sectors. The sanctuary one has six sectors, and the side one three.
A small campanile or bell-cote is perched on the tip of the back gable. It has a round-headed opening with a single bell, and the top is round instead of gabled.
The wall of the sanctuary apse has a majolica tondo of Our Lady.
The façade gable is actually false, being slightly higher than the roof behind. It has a projecting stone cornice, with a crowning cross-and-ball finial. Instead of side finials, the cornice forms two platforms at its ends which bear terracotta planters (a mistake!).
The frontage is mostly blank wall. The single entrance has a very thin stone door-case, but is framed by a pair of white marble Ionic columns. These stand on low, simple box plinths and support a triangular pediment with a broken apex. There is no proper entablature, but the pediment cornice rests on a pair of posts above the column capitals.
Above the pediment is a very fine majolica tondo depicting the Madonna and Child within a flower wreath. Below it, over the lintel, is a memorial tablet.
The entrance is flanked by a pair of thin round-headed windows, which have dished and molded frames in white.
The corners each have a small marble Tuscan Doric column, standing on a corbel and doing nothing.
The façade is flanked by a pair of arched portals. The archivolt of each has a very shallow curve, and springs directly from the chapel wall. The other end is supported by a free-standing marble Tuscan Doric column. Above the archivolt is a section of walling bearing another memorial tablet, and this screen wall is crowned by a projecting cornice. This in turn supports a polychrome statue of a kneeling angel.
In front of the chapel is a large black and white mosaic, having an octagonal geometric design with a dove in the centre.
The interior is mostly in white. The floor is laid in marble tiles with zones in different colours, bordered in white. The central strip is in a yellow and grey stone, contrasting with a large diaper square in dark green inside the entrance
The venue is obviously proud of the roof, which is called a soffito giotesco ("Giotesque ceiling") on its website. Presumably you are meant to think of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. There is actually no proper ceiling, but the interior of the roof is boarded is painted a rich blue with golden stars. It is supported by three longitudinal beams of square cross-section, in a very pale duck-egg blue with gilded corners.
The far wall of the nave is all in white, and has a cut-out and unembellished triumphal arch with a very shallow curve. This arch is false, as it does not match the curve of the apse conch behind but is lower.
A matching arch, floating on two bowl corbels in blue, distinguishes an entrance lobby from the main nave. The corbels are matched by up-lighters in the same form. Blue and white majolica tablets are provided for the Stations of the Cross and also for two holy water stoups below the front arch.
The large windows on the left have stained glass featuring roundels containing rosettes and romantic symbols, in blue and yellow mostly although the far one has a central heart in bright red.
The ancillary space to the left, noted as a little apse in the exterior, is a simple alcove also with a shallowly curved top edge.
The sanctuary intrudes into the nave, and is raised on a single-step platform paved with red marble. It is delineated by a pair of low balustraded screens, in white marble with yellow panels and red balusters.
Over the apse triumphal arch is a traditional crucifix, and it is flanked by traditional polychrome statues of St Joseph with the Christ-child to the left and Our Lady to the right.
The roof of the apse is in the same style as that of the nave.
The altar is an impressive polychrome marble Baroque work -where did it come from? The frontal has a gold rayed cross on a disc of dark green stone, on a background of yellow edged in white. The edge of the mensa is supported by a pair of little columns in dark red stone. There are two gradini, each fronted by polychrome geometric inlay in yellow, green and gold. These flank a tabernacle in gold, sliver and dark green stone, featuring a depiction of the Host and Chalice.
Is this tabernacle in use?
There is no proper altarpiece, but over the altar is hung an icon in Byzantine style depicting a bishop who looks like St Nicholas of Bari.
Apparently you can celebrate your wedding here with a Roman Catholic nuptial Mass, although the Villa's website is rather reticent about this. Obviously your paperwork has to be in order, as well as that of your priest, and you need the advance permission of the parish priest who is Dom Giuseppe Colaci at Sacri Cuori di Gesù e Maria di Porto Santa Rufina (2018). The venue management also need to be satisfied in advance as to your credentials.
Be aware that the chapel is rather small, and that the altar is against the far wall so that Mass cannot be celebrated with the priest facing the congregation.
Presumably those of other religions or Christian denominations, or the purely secular, can get married at this venue, too. However, there seems to be no accessible information as to the availability of the chapel to any of these. Contact the venue management in the first instance if you are interested, and note that the interior of the chapel is in a traditional Catholic style.