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Santa Maria Immacolata al Collegio Pio Latino Americano was the 19th century church of the Latin-American College, now demolished, at Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli 3 in the rione Prati.

HistoryEdit

This Jesuit college was founded in 1858, in order to train clergy for the republics of South America. It had small beginnings in a house next to the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, but in the following year it moved to larger premises owned by the Dominicans at Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

After success in attracting candidates, the college moved to part of the Jesuit noviciate at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale in 1867. It was almost expelled when the noviciate was sequestered by the Italian government in 1873, but received a stay of eviction until new quarters could be found. It was decided to provide purpose-built premises in the new district of Prati, which were begun in 1884. The college was able to move into them in 1887. The church was finished in the following year.

The College moved out to the suburbs in 1962, and the complex was immediately demolished. An apartment block now stands on the site.

Oddly, the new college on the Via Aurelia was itself forsaken only ten years later. See Cappella della Scuola Ufficiale dei Carabinieri for the Sixties chapel, and Cappella del Collegio Pio Latino Americano for the Seventies replacement.

DescriptionEdit

This was a full-sized church, having a nave and aisles and seven side altars. The interior decoration was sumptuous, and a sad loss.

The ceiling vault was frescoed, depicting The Glory of Our Lady and The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, both by Silverio Capparoni and with stucco work by the firm of Capranesi. The stained glass windows were by Jele of Innsbrück in Austria. Capparoni also executed the Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the conch of the apse, frescoes in niches in the apse itself and a series of Apostles and Doctors of the Church over the nave arcades..

Bartolini Nella executed The Apparition of Our Lady to St Catherine Labouréin the vault of the presbyterium, The Apparition of Our Lady to St Bernadette over the triumphal arch and John the Baptist, Ezechiel and David on the counterfaçade.

The main altar had chased metalwork by Vincenzo Brugo, and a tabernacle by Paolo Medici. Above was a statue of Our Lady by Giovanni Collina, with bronze work by Etorre Brandizza.

To the right of the main altar was the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, especially finely decorated by Landoni and with marble work by Ricciardi.

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