Cappella di Villa Lazzaroni is a deconsecrated later 20th century former orphanage chapel at the Villa Lazzaroni public park. The postal address in Via Appia Nuova 522, in the Appio Latino quarter.. However, the buildings associated with the chapel run along the Via Carlo Denina.
The Villa Lazzaroni started life in the early 19th century as an ordinary Campagna farmstead. However, in 1879 the Lazzaroni banking family obtained noble status and converted the farm into a country villa with extensive gardens. Many very interesting trees were planted in the grounds, of which several survive.
In 1893, there was an international depression which affected the banking sector and led to many bank failures. Early on, the Banca Romana collapse caused the impoverishment of the Lazzaroni - they managed to hold on to the property, but had to rent it out. An orphanage for children rescued from the Messina earthquake was established here briefly in 1908.
The orphanage outreach was repeated after the Second World War, when many orphaned and displaced children ended up in Rome. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary purchased the property for the purpose, but initially maintained the integrity of the villa and park.
This changed in 1960, when a major project to build a new orphanage and separate chapel was entered into. The property was divided, and most of the grounds became a public park. The area has lacked urban open spaces since its suburban development, and visitor pressure was immediately intense.
The Franciscan sisters failed in their project, and the complex (original villa, chapel and new orphanage) was expropriated by the city in 1979. The main villa became local government offices, the stables a police headquarters and the orphanage an infants' school. The disused chapel was converted into a theatre in 1985.
The theatre did not do very well, and fell into disrepair towards the end of the century. As a result of public campaigning, however, it was renovated and re-opened in 2016.
The former chapel is a white concrete flat-roofed box, with three vertical rectangular windows in each side. It has a narrower trapezoidal former sanctuary apse (now containing the theatre stage) which has its own roof with a shallow angled backward-sloping pitch.
All four sides of the chapel are abutted by narrow ranges of single-storey ancillary accommodation, including corridors, which have single-pitched and tiled roofs.
This is an inoffensive building for its era, but very boring.