Santa Giacinta is a mid 20th century confraternity chapel at Via Casilina Vecchia 19 in the Tuscolano quarter.
The dedication is to St Hyacintha Mariscotti, and is unique in Rome.
The chapel belongs to the Cittadella della Carità or "Little City of Charity", which is the operational headquarters of Caritas Roma.
In the 19th century, Roman Catholic outreaches to needy people in society were dominated by locally based confraternities and by active congregations of consecrated religious. The latter were, in the main, were the only charitable bodies working at regional, national or international levels.
This changed in the early 20th century, when the advantages of co-ordinating secular charitable activities became obvious. The first national Caritas organisation was founded in Germany in 1897 by Fr Lorenz Werthmann, and the establishment of similar bodies in other countries led to the foundation of an international umbrella organisation in 1924, the Caritas Internationalis.
Perhaps because it was already well served by religious charitable outreaches, Italy was late in joining. Caritas Italiana was only founded in 1971, at the point when it was becoming clear that the active congregations of religious were beginning to decline. Caritas Roma was founded at the diocesan level in 2014, and took over the Cittadella della Carità.
Layout and fabric Edit
The Cittadella occupies a constrained site next to a main railway line, and can be hard to find. It comprises several wings with one, two or three storeys, in a bland and vaguely vernacular style. These are arranged around two courtyards, unfortunately but necessarily given over to car parking. The chapel, which is completely free-standing, is in the eastern courtyard. Its façade is visible from the street.
This is a very simple building, in brick rendered in a pale orange and on a short rectangular plan. There is no external division into bays, but each side wall has a pair of round-headed windows well apart. The roof is pitched and tiled, with a hip over the sanctuary.
The gabled façade is actually false, since the roof behind it is lower and the nave narrower. It is very simple, and is mostly in blank walling.
The single entrance has one order of roll-molding framing the door. Above is a large semi-circular lunette panel (not a proper tympanum) which has a thin protruding archivolt in little tiles. The panel contains a fresco painting of Christ and the Apostles with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well. The panel is flanked by a pair of round-headed windows, with matching tile archivolts like eyebrows.
Above is a large circular panel with another fresco, painted to resemble a wheel window with eight sectors. The top four sectors have New Testament scenes relating to charity, and the bottom four Old Testament ones.
There is a very simple gabled campanile on the tip of the main gable, melded with it and having a round-headed opening for a single bell.
The interior background décor is in white, with the open roof in darkly stained wood. A wooden dado of the same hue occupies the walls of the sanctuary bay.
The nave side walls feature large framed monochrome frescoes of Biblical scenes, in a neo-Renaissance style. These are separated by Corinthian pilasters in what looks like yellow marble, but is probably not. They support a protruding roofline entablature.
The altarpiece fresco, in the same style as those of the nave, features St Hyacintha having a vision of the Cross.