Santa Maria del Silenzio is a late 20th century convent chapel, using older fabric, at Via della Magliana 1240 in the Ponte Galeria zone.
The chapel is in the city of Rome, but in the territory of the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.
In 1968 they opened a spiritual retreat house, the Domus Aurea, on a wooded hilltop site east of the village of Ponte Galeria, The location is a pocket of original farmland now surrounded by haphazard suburban and industrial development, but is more suitable than the busy urban surroundings of the Generalate for the emphasis on contemplative prayer that this congregation has.
The first buildings were temporary, but the venture was a success and a permanent structure was opened in 1984. This is a stately three-storey pink brick building on a square plan, containing a glass-roofed central atrium and its own chapel -the latter has no architectural identity.
In 1996, the congregation took over a set of redundant farm buildings in the middle of fields, up a long driveway from the Domus Aurea complex. The intention was to establish a community of sisters living the contemplative life, away from the service demands of the Domus Aurea. Unfortunately the farmhouse that must have been here was demolished long ago, so the sisters converted the stable block which is the largest building left here. This was probably erected in the late 19th century.
The little convent was inaugurated in 2004. At first there were only three sisters, but recently there seem to be about six. The congregation has no monastic stability unlike older orders of nuns, so the sisters probably come and go. Also, they have no enclosure. This means that, at present, they invite laywomen to live with them for a time and share the life -other monastic communities who try this have had problems, so hopefully things will go well here.
The former stable block is a long rectangular two-storey brick building, rendered in pink and with a pitched and tiled roof. It status as a former stable block means that there is no internal corridor, so a single-pitched and tiled roof canopy runs along the frontage. This is supported on wooden piers.
The chapel occupies the left hand end, and is given some architectural identity. It has its own entrance porch, with a single-pitched roof higher than that of the loggia to the right. The porch is in rendered brick, with a large round-headed portal in front and a smaller one to each side. Above it in the frontage of the chapel is a round window with a projecting dished frame.
On the roofline above the frontage is a large bell-cote or campanile, in rendered brick with a tiled gable. It contains three triangular-topped bell-openings, one above two and with the top one much shorter.
The chapel interior is very simple, in white with a pink terracotta floor. The windows, all on the left hand side, have been provided with slightly pointed tops within their rectangular embrasures.
The altar is a wooden box, of horizontal pine planking.
The sanctuary has an odd vaulting arrangement. There is a screen wall with a vertical obtuse angle and a slightly pointed "triumphal arch" aperture, and the edges edges of this are given a thin band of twisted ribbon decoration in red and gold. The far corners of the sanctuary are occupied by another screen wall with a matching external obtuse angle, and this has a matching aperture. The edges of the two apertures meet as a sort of cross-vault, and a crucifix hangs from the intersection over the altar.
The far wall of the sanctuary, within the far aperture, contains nothing but the tabernacle. This is offset, and has a gilded square door within a black marble frame.
The sisters have a charism of Eucharistic adoration, so you might find Exposition taking place here.