San Giulio is a modern parish church at Via Francesco Maidalchini 17, in the Gianicolense quarter just west of the Trastevere train station. The suburb is called Monteverde. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

Name Edit

The patron saint is Pope Julius I, who reigned from 337 to 352 and is remembered for building several churches in Rome. It is unusual for a church dedicated to a pope not to have the papal title in the dedication.

History Edit

The parish began in 1958 as a curacy of Santa Maria Madre della Provvidenza a Monte Verde, and obtained independence in 1960.

Unusually, the church was begun in 1958 before the parish was set up. The architect was Tullio Rossi. Unfortunately, after the crypt was completed it was decided not to proceed with the main church. Since the area is well-provided with churches, this one will now never be finished.

In recognition of this, in 2000 a civic presence was given to the façade by providing a little garden on a bridge (!).

The parish was initially administered by diocesan clergy, but was passed on to the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception who are still in charge.


Layout and fabric Edit

The original design by Tullio Rossi provided for a crypt, and this is the present church. As a result it is a low building on a rectangular plan, which is almost square. The near and far walls are slightly curved outwards.

The fabric seems to be in reinforced concrete.

Although it is below street level, the church is not underground because the crypt was built in a large excavation. Hence, the exterior walls are visible are are in a bright ochre yellow. There are five bays, and the side walls of the first four each have a thin, long horizontally rectangular window consisting of a row of rectangular panes. For some reason the second window on the right is double in depth. The far bays abuts the parish ancillary facilities on the left, and has an interesting relict feature on the right. This is the remains of a staircase bridge crossing the void in between the street level and the roof, which has obviously been blocked off and the stairs removed because the roof was too tempting as a place to play football.

This roof is perfectly flat, in concrete, with a parapet all round formed of the tops of the walls.

The far wall has a recess occupying its width and half its height, and this contains a single window behind the altar.

Façade Edit

An effort was made in 2000 to have the façade look interesting.

The very boring and plain entrance wall is in the same yellow render as the rest of the church, with two pairs of horizontal rows of window panes each side of the entrance. Access is by two sets of stairs leading down at either side.

This frontage has been provided with a white screen wall on top of the roofline. Each side rises in a very gentle parabolic curve to the centre, where they join by means of a semi-cylinder around a cross set in a circular raised plinth on the roofline above the entrance. This plinth bears the name of the saint, and the cylinder has a parabolic section cut out of it behind the cross. Further, a bridge has been built from the street pavement to the cross, and this has been laid out as an attractive little garden which is continued at ground level to the right.

Those responsible deserve to be congratulated for turning a miserable failure into something worth visiting to see.

Attached to the left hand corner of the frontage is the campanile. This comprises the cuboidal stump of the intended tower, on top of which has been fixed two parabolic metal rods perpendicular to each other. The single bell hangs from the apex, where they cross.


The open interior space is dominated by the flat coffered ceiling, divided into squares by beams and painted a pale brown. Alternate ceiling squares have a motif added of four small grey square tiles brought together to form a tessellation.

The interior walls are painted a light grey.

There is a good modern stained glass window behind the high altar, with a semi-abstract design in red, yellow and blue featuring the sun and moon. This window incorporates the tabernacle, which has a gilded bronze door inserted into the sun-disc. The door has a relief of The Host and Chalice.

The window is flanked by two pairs of blank white concrete slabs, placed diagonally and facing the congregation. A horizontal beam with a gilded bronze panel decorated with crosses in circles runs below the tabernacle, which echoes a strip below the front edge of the altar mensa.

The seating of the ministers is in white slabs to match these monoliths.

Either side of the window assemblage is a painted round-headed panel with a symbolic Eucharistic theme.

The font is interesting, being a hemisphere on a stalk rising from a bundle of square white piers. The holder of the Easter candle is part of this, behind the bowl.

Access Edit

The church is open daily from 7:00 to 12:00, and 16:00 to 19:30.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated (May 2018):

Weekdays 9:00, 19:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 19:00.

In the recent past, there has been Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays outside summer from 17:00 to 18:30.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

Roman Despatches blog

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