Santa Maria Immacolata alla Cervelletta is a subsidiary church of the parish of Santa Maria Immacolata e S Vincenzo de Paoli, located at Piazza della Cervelletta 1 in the zone of Tor Sapienza, near the Strada dei Parchi west of its junction with the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Orientale).
The parish was founded in 1912, at a time when the locality was still mostly rural. This church was built for it, being designed by Carlo Lepri in a neo-Baroque style and completed in the same year.
It served as the local parish church until 1968, when the larger parish church was built.
After a period of some neglect it was restored in 1999 and is now used for weddings. In this it is useful to those who want a dignified building of traditional style, but cannot afford a church in the Centro Storico.
Layout and fabricEdit
This is a small single-naved building, in very pale orange render with architectural details in white. It is side-on to the main road.
The nave has two bays, with each side wall having two large rectangular windows separated by a tripletted Doric pilaster. The latter support a roofline entablature which continues that of the façade, and runs round the entire church.
Off the far end of the nave are two large rectangular side chapels. These have a window each in the side wall facing the nave, but none in the end wall which is topped by a triangular pediment. The end wall of the left hand chapel, facing the road, has a tablet with an epigraph recording the foundation of the church.
The sanctuary is a semi-circular external apse, which is slightly narrower than the nave and has no windows.
In the angle between the left hand chapel and the apse is a little square sacristy, over which is the campanile. This is a cuboidal kiosk with a large arched soundhole on each face, with a molded archivolt and Doric imposts.
A little segmentally apsed side chapel is at the bottom of the right hand side of the nave.
The façade has one storey. Two gigantic tripletted Ionic pilasters with swagged capitals occupy the corners, and support an entablature and triangular pediment, which has a coat of arms superimposed. The tripletting of the pilasters is replicated in vertical steps in the entablature and pediment. The tympanum of the latter contains a coat-of-arms in relief of Pope Pius X, and the frieze of the entablature has a simple dedicatory inscription to Our Lady
On the tip of the pediment is a statue of Our Lady, and over its ends are two flaming vase finials.
The doorway has a raised horizontal cornice, on posts themselves supported by strap corbels. It shelters a winged putto's head. Above is a large rectangular window, with a raised segmental pediment intruding into the crowing entablature. The frame is embellished with curlicues and festoons.
The central zone of the façade including the doorway and window is in white instead of the faint orange, and is slightly protruding.
The single nave has large rectangular stained glass windows, separated by Doric pilasters supporting an entablature. The ceiling, however, is not vaulted.
The interior overall is frescoed throughout by Giovanni Battista Conti, a local Roman artist for whom this commission established a career. The work is very attractive, in a neo-Byzantine style owing much to the Beuron Art School. There are figurative frescoes in the apse, side chapels and on the triumphal arch, while on other wall surfaces the work imitates ancient Roman polychrome marble wall decoration.
Buses number 437 and 457 from Rebibbia metro station pass the church.
The church is now a spare liturgical space for the parish of Santa Maria Immacolata e S Vincenzo de Paoli.
The parish Sunday Mass at 11:30 was being celebrated here recently, but is not so advertised in the parish website now (June 2018).
There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 16:00 to 22:00 on Thursdays.
(There has also been a Mass at 10:00 on Sunday for the Community of Sant'Egidio, but they are notoriously shy about their liturgical activities and it is difficult to say if this is being continued.)