San Domenico Savio was a mid 20th century former parish church which was attached to a Salesian college, the Istituto Salesiano Teresa Gerini, at Via Tiburtina 994 in the Ponte Mammolo quarter. This is just north-east of the metro station of Rebibbia.

The dedication was to St Dominic Savio.

History Edit

The Istituto Teresa Gerini was founded by the Salesians in 1952 as a vocational training college for young people, using a benefaction from Alessandro Gerini in memory of his mother after whom the college was named.

As well as educational facilities, the complex was planned from the start to include a public theatre, an orphanage and a parish church. The main portion of the complex, four long wings around a vast courtyard, formed the college and remains as a functioning school. The theatre, orphanage and church formed a distinct and separate complex to the south-west of this -known later at Gerini Sud.

However, the parish was only set up in 1958 (it received its civic recognition in 1961).This is an unusual instance of a modern Roman suburban parish church being apparently founded at the wishes of a private benefactor, instead of as a diocesan response to perceived pastoral need.

Unfortunately the area became dominated by commercial premises, and there were too few parishioners for long-term viability. There was a visitation by Pope St John Paul II in 1997, by which time the future of the parish must have been under serious discussion -although there is no hint of this in the pope's homily. The orphanage had mutated into a boarding school, which also became redundant.

The parish was suppressed in 2000, its territory being transferred to that of Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Ponte Mammolo. The Istituto then sold Gerini Sud in 2003 to a property company called Amplired SpA, which proposed a retail park here. Permission to demolish the complex and clear the site was granted in 2007.

In March 2008, the former orphanage and the church were demolished. However, concerted protest led to the municipality declaring an interest in the theatre as a social asset and this was left alone. However, at present (2016) it remains disused while arguments continue over the form of redevelopment that the now derelict site should take.

The demolished church should not be confused with the private chapel of the college, which remains in use.

Appearance Edit

The Gerini Sud complex comprised the theatre to the north, and an L-shaped block to the south with the two linked by a third, monumentally designed three-storey block containing the orphanage. The church was in the first storey of the L-shaped wing, in the portion running parallel to the Via Tiburtina from the courtyard fronting the central block. The church entrance was off this courtyard.

The structure was in two storeys, the second being slightly lower than the first. The street frontage (the right hand side wall) of the first storey was in rough-cut yellow tufo blocks of varying sizes, interrupted by regularly spaced vertical recessed window strips running the entire height of the storey. The second storey was occupied by a gallery walkway fronted by rectangular openings in travertine limestone, each opening having a slightly curved top.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

College home page

Homily of Pope John Paul II at the last visitation

"Vasonlus" web-page

Youtube video of church demolition

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