Santa Maria dell’Orazione a Setteville is a 21st century parish church at Via Anticoli Corroda 80, which is in the commune of Guidonia Montecelio to the north-east of the city. The actual locality is a new suburb called Marco Simone, north of the Via Tiburtina.

The church is in the diocese of Rome, but not in the municipality.

History Edit

The area was messily and mostly illegally developed as a very ad-hoc suburb from the Sixties. In response, the Diocese set up a parish in 1989. Back then, the location had the miserable name of Setteville Nord (Setteville itself is on the Via Tiburtina) but the name Marco Simone was borrowed from the nearby Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (its actual name, not a translation), itself named after the footballer Marco Simone.

The permanent church was designed by Roberto Panella, begun in 1999 and finished in 2002. Collaborating with him were Alberto Costantini and Massimiliano Ciotti.

The edifice at the far east end of the street and replaced a temporary building at number 8, near the west end. This has been demolished.

Unfortunately Panella died in 2015 and his website is defunct, but an archive of the page for this church was extant in early 2017 (see "External links", below).


Layout Edit

The edifice is at first glance a cylinder, on a circular plan. However, the plan is more complicated than that. The circumference of the cylinder in the plan is divided into eight arcs, seven equal in length and the eighth behind the altar shorter. If we take the pair of arcs flanking the entrance as on the original alignment, then the entrance arc is moved back slightly and the four side arcs have their near ends rotated slightly outwards. The altar arc is moved back, and a tower campanile stands here.

The ferial chapel is attached to the right hand side of the church. It has an odd plan, an irregular quadrilateral with its right hand wall slightly curved. Behind the church's sanctuary and abutting both it and the chapel is the sacristy area, a pentagonal block, and behind this in turn are the parish offices and ancillary quarters which are in two wings meeting at an obtuse angle.

Crypt Edit

The church stands on a crypt, which has wider dimensions. Its flat roof around the church is a terrace paved in pink. The crypt is exposed on the left hand side, since the site is sloping. Here is found an open loggia, of pink brick with white supporting columns.

Fabric Edit

The fabric is reinforced concrete, clad with fine white slabs of travertine limestone. The ancillary wings are in red brick.

The walls on either side of the façade step down in three stages corresponding to the arc lengths mentioned in the layout above, and the flat roof steps down likewise. These walls are blank, but are decorated with dark horizontal string courses dividing them into zones of equal height. From entrance to altar, the first curve has nine of these, the second eight and the third, six. The stone used for these stripes is bardaglio marble.

At each step in the elevation, the curved wall moves out radially so as to allow the insertion of a vertical strip of window facing in the direction of the entrance.

The first two walls either side of the façade each has strips of window joining up in three sides of a rectangle to mimic the façade fenestration, low down and near the façade. These are formed of square panes. Each rectangle frames a section of wall which has been brought outwards, and the space within so created contains confessionals.

Campanile Edit

The tall white tower campanile behind the altar is formed by bringing together vertical segments of cylinders on a rectangular plan. These forms do not join exactly, but have narrow window strips between them which run the entire height to the bell-chamber.

The bell-chamber is formed by two cylinder segments with the curves facing inwards, joined by straight sections and with a rectangular sound-hole in each of the four resulting faces.

Façade Edit

The church's car park is situated between the bottom right hand side of the church and a sharp corner in the street. From it, a ramp runs down in front of the church to the little piazza in front of the crypt, and from the slope of this ramp a flight of steps runs up to the entrance.

The entrance façade is framed by an enormous white rectangular frame amounting to a monumental pylon, almost as high as the church and bounding a glass wall which itself surrounds a white door-case containing the recessed doors. This glass wall consists of large square panes in wooden frames. Above the façade frame is a solid parapet, following the front arc of the church's plan and containing a single stripe.

Ferial chapel Edit

The façade of the ferial chapel is straight. The entrance is to the left, next to the church, and next to this is a wall in the same style as those of the church and with four stripes. Then comes six tall, narrow rectangular windows separated by thin engaged piers. The access to the ancillary quarters is round the right hand corner, and the slightly curved wall here also has four stripes. The roof is flat, with a low parapet.


The interior is not large. The wall and ceiling surfaces are in white, with most of the natural light coming from the glass entrance façade.

The fresco behind the altar is of Our Lady in the ancient iconic style of Wisdom Incarnate. That is, she is praying in the "orans" position (a reference to the church dedication), and on her chest is a circle representing the Universe. This contains the Christ Child as Lord of it, and incarnate within it. Unusually, Our Lady's robe is red. She has four angels in attendance, one bearing the sun and one the moon.

Access Edit

The church is open 8:00 to 20:00 daily, according to the Diocese (June 2018).

If the main entrance is locked, try the side entrance or the ferial chapel. This especially applies to the all-night Exposition on First Fridays (see below).

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website (June 2018):

Weekdays 9:00, 17:00 (18:00 in Daylight Saving Time);

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

According to the Diocese, the evening Mass is followed by sung Vespers and a brief Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Fridays, the evening Mass is followed by recited Vespers and a brief Exposition.

On First Fridays, the Exposition begins after the 9:00 Mass and continues until 6:00 on the following Saturday.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Archive of architect's page (the page is defunct, and the thumbs in the photo gallery don't work.)

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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