San Filippo Apostolo is a late 20th century parish church at Via di Grottarossa 193 in the suburban zone of Tomba di Nerone, north-west of the Parco di Roma golf club.
The dedication is to St Philip the Apostle.
The parish was created by splitting the mother parish of Sant'Andrea Apostolo alla Tomba di Nerone. A curacy was founded in 1956, with a chapel administered by the Society for Divine Vocations (nicknamed the Vocationist Fathers).
This became an independent parish in 1962, but had to make do with its inadequate temporary place of worship for the next thirty years. Finally a permanent church was designed by Roberto Panella, and opened in 1992.
Arguably this church is less interesting than some of the architect's later creations, but is still worth visiting.
The plan is rather complex, based on a square overall. It consists of a narrow central rectangle with a shallow segmental apse at the altar end, with a pair of rectangles of half the width on either side. These elements have flat roofs, and decrease in height stepwise from the central nave outwards. The façade and far end are also stepped in the plan, with the two structural aisles on either side decreasing in length in turn.
Behind the main church is a ferial chapel, on the plan of a keystone with an entrance porch on the left and a rounded apse on the right. In between the latter and the top right hand corner of the main church is a baptistery.
The materials used are concrete in the box frames, and pink brick in the infill walls. The bricklaying is of very high quality, with the bricks being laid in decorative patterns.
The corners are occupied by concrete support slab-piers. The main side walls are divided at their middle points by a pair of side entrances, each flanked by another pair of support piers. These piers support massive horizontal concrete beams which in turn support the roofs. In between the inmost pair of beams and the central nave roof are horizontal rectangular windows.
Façade and campanile Edit
The ends of the aisles as they appear in the façade are identically designed, having a central zone of blank pink brickwork flanked by two side strips. The latter consists of window above, and more brick below (two-thirds glass and one-third brick). The brickwork has a decoration of three recessed horizontal stripes about a third of the way up, and is separated from the window-strips by thin concrete pilasters. Thicker slab-piers, parts of the framework, occupy the corners (these have been mentioned already).
The brickwork in the two walls of the wide central entrance zone (the frontage of the central nave) is similar, but above the stripes each has a recessed form like a steep step pyramid. The outer edges of this zone are identical to the side aisle frontages, but the inner edges of the walls abut the campanile (see below).
The entrance occupies the bottom third of the frontage of the central nave, and is divided in two by two tall parallel concrete slab-piers which continue well above the roofline. These are part of the campanile. In between the two doors is a window with fenestration in a grid pattern, but then a floating slab occupies the space between the two slab-piers and slightly protrudes. It is higher than the two flanking slabs, and has a diagonally cut top containing a metal crosspiece inserted into a slot. Hence, when you stand on the major axis in front of the church you see a cross finial here. The side slabs of the campanile above the roof are each cut away in the form of a cross.
The church stands away from the street, and is fronted by a patio in limestone accessed by a wide flight of stairs.
Ferial chapel Edit
The far ends of the side aisles are identical to their near ends. The church apse is blank concrete, and above it is a window strip. The ferial chapel entrance is adjacent to the apse, and has a circular floating canopy. The paving of the patio outside this entrance is attractive, being in red granite setts laid in a circular pattern and with steps leading down.
The interior fabric is exactly the same as that outside -pink brick and light grey concrete slab-piers and beams. The roofs are coffered in deep white concrete squares. The windows are in clear glass.
The sanctuary is all in pink marble, including a raised semi-circular platform with three steps. The seats of the ministers are in the apse, which has a pink marble dado below an otherwise entirely featureless white apse wall (this now has had a traditional large crucifix added).
Mass is celebrated (autumn 2017):
Weekdays 9:00, 18:30 (has been 19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 10:00, 11:30, 18:30 (has been 19:00 in summer).
Istituto Asisium Edit
The parish has one public external Mass centre, at Cappella Istituto Asisium. This has a weekday Mass at 7:00.