Santa Maria della Divina Provvidenza a Testaccio is a deconsecrated 19th century convent church at Via Alessandro Volta in the rione Testaccio (the historic rione Ripa).

The dedication was to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her aspect of Our Lady of Divine Providence.


The Daughters of Divine Providence (Figlie della Divina Provvidenza) is a locally founded active religious sisterhood, founded by Maria Elena Bettini in 1832 for the purpose of educating poor girls. The foundation was with the help of the Barnabites at San Carlo ai Catinari, near which church the first convent school opened. The new congregation took the name of the famous miraculous icon in that church.

This first convent was transferred to Testaccio when that formerly mostly uninhabited area was being populated by working-class people. The new complex was designed by Antonio Lenti, and finally completed in 1889. It provided a soup kitchen, orphanage and school for girls, and its church was the first in the neighbourhood (the new parish church of Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio was to follow).

This convent was the mother house of the congregation until the later 20th century, when the Generalate (headquarters) was moved to Santa Maria della Divina Provvidenza a Primavalle. This became a poor location for a convent, however, and at the end of the century a large new Generalate and school complex was built at Via Matteo Bartoli 255, in a developing suburb. 

The Testacchio complex, which had come to include a small hospital, was closed in 2008. The Diocese no longer lists the church, so it is presumably deconsecrated.


The church has a plain and rather formulaic two-story neo-Baroque façade. Four Doric pilasters flank the entrance, which has a segmental pediment. Two framed rectangular sunken panels are in between the pairs of pilasters. Above the entablature is a window with a slightly curved top, flanked by a pair of recessed framed blank tondi. A small triangular pediment occupies only the central third of the roofline.

External linksEdit

"Romafelix" web-page

Congregation's website

Roman Despatches

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