Santa Maria Goretti is a mid 20th century parish church at Via Santa Maria Goretti 29, in the Trieste quarter near the Nomentana train station. The main entrance is at Via di Santa Maria Goretti 29. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to St Maria Goretti.

History Edit

The parish was founded in 1953, when the church was already under construction. This was designed by Tullio Rossi, and completed in 1954.

The church was made titular as a diaconate in 2012, and the present cardinal deacon is Prosper Grech.


Layout and fabric Edit

The plan is basilical, with a nave of seven bays having structural side aisles (except for the first bay). There follows a sanctuary which is slightly lower and narrower than the central nave, and which has a slightly outwardly curved back wall -a very shallow segmental apse. The church stands on a crypt.

The ancillary accommodation is substantial, giving the impression that the original project foresaw a convent. To the left of the church is a convent-type layout around a rectangular courtyard parallel to the church, and with a tower campanile over the far short side. The church sanctuary is flanked by a two-storey wing on both sides, and these are connected by a single-storey back wing attached to the far wall of the church.

The fabric is all in red brick, hiding a reinforced concrete frame. The roofs are pitched and tiled. The main nave roof has a double pitch, but the aisle roofs are single-pitched. The sanctuary roof is double-pitched with a hip at the apse end, and the appended ancillary side blocks are single-pitched. The far wing is flat-roofed.

The right hand side elevation is easily viewed from the Via Lago Tana. The aisle has five identical bays, with a dado painted white in which are five horizontal slit windows lighting the crypt. Above this, the bays are separated by pairs of thin blind pilasters which meld into a roofline cornice. Each pilaster pair is joined by two short string courses, and in the rectangle thus formed is a window. The sixth aisle bay is occupied by a side entrance, which is flanked by icons of Christ and Our Lady in Byzantine style.

The central nave wall has nine vertical rectangular windows, also framed by thin brick pilasters joining onto a string course running over the tops of the windows well below the roofline. These windows occupy the second to sixth bays of the nave. The appearance belies the church's structure, as the reinforced concrete frame of the central nave consists of pairs of piers supporting the roof. These are hidden by the brick cladding, but the windows are inserted between each pair of piers and also between the two in each pair (this is more obvious in the interior).

The apse is visible from Via Tripolitana, looming over the back wing of the convent. It is in blank brick, with brick pilasters melding into a cornice and joined by a middle string course thus forming large rectangular sunk panels.

Campanile Edit

A bit further along the Via Tripolitana, you can see the detached tower campanile set in the main convent block. It is a rectangular tower in blank brick, with a concrete platform for the bell-chamber. This has three vertical rectangular apertures on each long side, separated by brick piers. The top is tiled.

Façade Edit

The entrance is approached by a flight of steps, reminding you that the church has a crypt. There are eight stairs, running the full width of the façade and ending in a patio. To either side, the aisle ends are occupied by odd portals set well back and with single-pitched roofs above them.

The façade fronts the central nave only, and so has a single entrance. This features a large round-headed portal completely filled with its wooden doors -there is no tympanum or transom. There is a large round window above, then a dedicatory inscription in stone on a frieze running across most of the façade just below the gabled roofline. This creates a false pediment. Finally, the diocesan coat-of-arms is in the angle of the gable.

The walling of the façade on each side of the door and window has four thin brick pilasters melding with a raised frame for the frieze. These pilasters are joined by two string courses making nine sunk rectangular panels on each side. The lower string course is run across the entire façade, above the door.


Nave Edit

The interior has a single nave after the entrance bay, with the structural aisles divided into three chapels on each side. The chapels are separated by thick square piers, each of which actually contains two hidden reinforced concrete slab supports which run up to bear the roof. You can see that there is a vertical rectangular window above each chapel, but also one above each pier in between the supports.

Each of the piers has a pair of shallow Doric pilasters applied, in green marble with gilded capitals. These support what amounts to a very deep entablature between the chapel apertures and the windows, with a simple projecting architrave and cornice joined by short pilasters breaking the frieze into rectangular sunk panels (obviously a design feature of the church).

The ceiling vault has a segmental curve, and is supported by double ribs springing from the hidden concrete supports just mentioned. These are revetted in green marble as well.

The floor is in green marble, with white strips. Otherwise, the interior décor is in white.

The round window in the counterfaçade has stained glass showing The Four Evengelists by János Hajnal.

The church has bronze statues of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart by Sergio Verginelli, a native Roman sculptor.

Sanctuary Edit

The sanctuary is very simply treated architecturally. The portal has no triumphal arch, but is a blank wall in white with a slightly curved top which is the end of the plain vault. Each side wall has four vertical apertures, leading into a slightly projecting balcony. The dominating fresco on the wall behind the altar, depicting The Apotheosis of St Maria Goretti, is by Luigi Montanarini. It gives a much-needed splash of colour to an otherwise cool interior.

Very oddly, the back of the sanctuary has been screened off as a ferial or weekday chapel. The number of people attending weekday Masses here must be small, but the whole idea of a ferial chapel is that a separate, small room saves on heating costs in winter.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated (parish website, June 2018):

Weekdays 7:30, 9:30, 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 18:30.

A Filippino worshipping community celebrates Mass in the crypt at 12:00 on Sundays.

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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