San Tarcisio a Quarto Miglio is a 20th century Fascist-era parish and former convent church at Largo Padre Leonardo Bello 12, in the suburb of Quarto Miglio on the Via Appia Nuova. This is in the Appio Pignatelli quarter.
The dedication is to St Tarcisius, who was a 3rd century Roman martyr killed while defending the Blessed Sacrament from profanation.
The remote origins of the church lie with the opening of a little mission chapel in the locality by clergy of the Franciscan Friars Minor based at Sant’Antonio da Padova a Via Merulana. This chapel was located between the Via Palazzolo and Via Galloro, some distance from the church, and does not exist any more.
Back then, the area was thinly populated and casual suburban settlement was going on by very poor people.
The parish was set up in 1935, and entrusted to the Franciscans. The proposal had been made by the Vicariate of the Diocese in 1933, and the then head of the Friars Minor who agreed to it is now commemorated by the name of the street on which the church stands -Largo Padre Leonardo Bello.
The church was designed by Tullio Rossi, and completed in 1939 within a low budget. The parish area was very large, but the small resident population and their poverty ensured that a cheap building had to be provided.
The parish was recently given up by the Franciscans, and is now with diocesan clergy.
Layout and fabric Edit
Despite the appearance of the façade, this church has a long central nave of five bays and only one aisle, on the right. There follows a deep sanctuary, slightly narrower than the central nave. The left hand side only has a structural aisle for the first two bays, which seems to contain the baptistery.
The former convent is a substantial two-storey transverse rectangular block which abuts the church on the right side of the sanctuary and the last nave bay.
The fabric seems to be in brick, although it is hard to say since the exterior is entirely rendered in a pale pink (it used to be light grey before a recent repainting). The main roof is pitched and tiled, with the ridge-line continuing uninterrupted over the sanctuary. The right hand aisle has a substantially lower single-pitched roof. The first bay of the left hand "aisle" matches, but the roof of the second bay is as high as the main roof and is actually part of it as a cat-slide.
Over the far right hand corner of the nave is a campanile or bell-cote in the form of a transverse rectangular box with a little tiled and gabled roof and a pair of round-headed sound holes side by side on the longer faces.
The nave has four large vertical rectangular windows, almost square, in the right hand nave wall, one for each of the near four bays, but only three in the left hand wall beyond the "aisle" structures. The sanctuary's left hand side wall has a row of six small rectangular windows. The back wall of the sanctuary has three shallow round-headed recessed panels, painted white.
The entrance façade of the nave is actually recessed within the side walls and pitched roof for over a metre. What would normally be an exterior porch occupying the length of the façade, with a single-pitched tiled roof and supported by two blind square piers, is actually within the side walls. Above this is an almost square stained glass window, and there is a pair of small square windows flanking the entrance.
The roof gable is supported by large triangular wooden struts.
The entire central nave façade is painted a light pink, except for a white rectangle around the main window which has a grey frame. The aisle ends are just walls in the same pink, with a door each below the sloping roofline.
The simple interior has a nave with an open wooden roof, and an aisle arcade to the right supported by columns in grey. The sanctuary is entered through a wide triumphal arch, without imposts.
The interior decoration reflects the fact that the founders of the parish were Franciscans, although it is now administered by diocesan clergy.
The stained glass window in the counterfaçade depicts St Tarsicius.
The wall surround of the triumphal arch has a depiction of The Garden of Eden. Two tall pine trees flank the arch, while over it is shown a flock of sheep flowing from the Rivers of Paradise
The four evangelists are depicted on the side walls of the sanctuary.
The back wall of the sanctuary has a fresco of The Apotheosis of St Tarsicius by Mario Barberis. He is shown as a youth in an ancient Roman tunic being venerated by a pair of angels, with two palm trees at the sides and the Dove of the Holy Spirit above.
The Blessed Sacrament chapel has an altarpiece fresco of Our Lady with Franciscan saints, in an attractive realistic style.
According to the parish website (2017), Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:30, 18:30 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00 (10:30 in summer), 11:30 (not summer), 18:30 (19:00 in summer).