Santi Francesco e Caterina, Patroni d’Italia is a mid 20th century parish church at Circonvallazione Gianicolense 12, in the Gianicolense quarter, opposite the entrance to the Trastevere train station. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is jointly to SS Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, who are the patrons of Italy.

History Edit

The parish was founded in 1942, in the same year as the church was built. This was designed by Tullio Rossi, in a derivative neo-Romanesque style rather typical of him.

Initially the church was in charge of diocesan clergy, but had a period when it was administered by priests from the diocese of MondovÌ on loan. It is now in the care of the Schönstatt Fathers.

The proximity of the train station means that the church has a substantially higher profile than most Roman suburban churches.


Layout and fabric Edit

The plan is basilical, having a central nave of seven bays with side aisles following a shallow entrance sub-bay which is structurally distinct. A large chapel abuts the right hand side aisle for its second and third bays. The aisles stop at the seventh bay, where they meet two further side chapels slightly wider than the aisles. The sanctuary is a five-sided polygonal apse.

The church is set back from the street, beyond a small piazza (unfortunately used for car parking). To the left of this is the three-storey parish house, architecturally undistinguished, and a range hugging the left hand side aisle leads from the back of this.

The exterior walls are in finely laid white limestone ashlar, although brick and reinforced concrete are probably the main structural materials.

The aisle walls are windowless. The near seven bays of the central nave each have a pair of large round-headed windows with stone mullions in the form of two vertical rows of squares. The apse also has a pair of these windows, and the near right hand side chapel has a little round window in its far wall.

The roofs are all flat. The aisle roofs are one with the portico roof. The apse roof is lower than that of the nave.

The near wall of the near right hand chapel is occupied by a campanile in the form of a monolithic rectangular slab pierced by two arched apertures at the top in which the bells are hung.

Façade Edit

The façade is entirely in white, with a flat-roofed open external loggia approached by a wide flight of steps and occupying the entire width. This has five large arches without any capitals or imposts to the piers, with another one round the corner on the right side. The left side abuts onto the parish house next door. Above the loggia is a round window with mullions in the shapes of a Greek cross and fenestration with a sunburst motif. The roofline above is horizontal and has a slightly projecting cornice; below this runs a simple dedicatory inscription: S. Francisco Ass. et S. Caterinae Sen. Italiae patronis.

The main entrance has the year of dedication over it, 1942, and a relief of the Keys of Peter with the heraldry of Pope Pius XII.

Interior Edit

As is usually the case with Rossi churches, the interior is dominated by white walls. There are no arcades, but instead square piers clad in green marble support a horizontal trabeation on either side clad in yellow marble. Above these are large round-headed windows. The floor is paved with sand-coloured tiles, and the flat ceiling is in light grey and is crossed by narrow transverse beams. Everything else is white, including the wall in which the triumphal arch is set and the windowless apse.

Two modern icons of the patrons flank the triumphal arch, and two others of SS Michael and Gabriel are in the apse.

Liturgy Edit

Church Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 7:30, 9:00, 19:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9.00, 10:30, 12:00, 19:00.

From the first Saturday in September till the last one in June, there is a Mass celebrated for deaf people at 17:00.

External Mass centres Edit

The parish has two public dependent chapels at which Mass is celebrated:

San Gaetano dell'Ursuline

Santa Teresa delle Suore Carmelitane Missionarie Teresiane

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Roman Despatches - blog with gallery

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