Santa Maria della Divina Provvidenza delle Guanelliane is a 20th century Fascist-era convent chapel at Via della Nocetta 23 in the Gianicolense suburban district. The locality is called Bravetta.
The Figlie di Santa Maria della Divina Provvidenza, nicknamed the Guanelliane, were founded by St Luigi Guanella in 1881. He was a parish priest of Como, and the first little convent of sisters was at a place called Pianello Lario.
St Luigi is perhaps more famous in Rome for propagating devotion to St Joseph, and for founding the shrine-basilica of San Giuseppe al Trionfale.
The congregation received papal approval in 1931, and this encouraged it to build a huge Generalate or headquarters just west of the Villa Doria Pamphilj.
However, after the Second World War the Generalate moved to new premises behind the Carmelite friars' convent of San Pancrazio. This headquarters is now also a nursing home called the Casa San Pio X. The Braveta convent is the headquarters of the Italian province, and also a medical rehabilitation centre called the Casa Santa Maria della Provvidenza.
Layout and fabric Edit
The huge, sprawling convent is allegedly in a neo-Renaissance style, which is accurate insofar as the 15th century Roman nobility couldn't be bothered much about embellishing the exteriors of their palazzi. Here, the convent is a series of wings of differing heights -two to six storeys -in a pale orange render and with rows of large vertical rectangular windows. The corners have rusticated quoins, and the roofs are mostly pitched and tiled.
The complex focuses on a three-sided courtyard, with the fourth side open to the street and having a low screen wall with iron railings. The façade of the chapel dominates the centre of the far range of this courtyard, but is actually an architectural fancy since it fronts a flat-roofed entrance bay. The actual chapel, which is church-sized, abuts a long garden wing at its sanctuary end and is flanked by two little square courtyards, fully enclosed. It seems to have a central nave with a pair of side aisles.
A tower campanile, invisible from the street, is over the far end of the left hand aisle. It has two storeys above the aisle, with a double-arched sound-hole on each side. There is a tall pyramidal cap within a parapet.
The façade is in a cream colour. The main storey has four Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature, and above this is a low attic storey. A small false pediment peeps over the latter. The central zone of the main storey has a low-relief blind arch inserted into it, and the imposts of this are continued across the façade and behind the pilasters as a string course. The two side zones each have a round-headed window below this string course, and a square one above.
The tympanum of the arch mentioned has a good mosaic representation of Our Lady of Providence, with an epigraph stating so.
The entrance doorway has a floating triangular pediment (!).
The attic storey has a pair of blind pilasters below the little pediment. These flank a recessed horizontal panel with a molded frame, and this contains a mosaic depicting the sacred species of the Eucharist. The outer zones of this attic storey each has a matching square recess, but these have been left blank.