The Church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami is built on top of the Mamertine Prison in the Campitelli District in Rome. It is often used for weddings. In 2018 the ceiling of the church collapsed. The works of art have all been moved to a safe spot, while the restoration work continues.
San Giuseppe dei Falegnami Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission (2022)
The address of the Chiesa di San Giuseppe dei Falegnami al Foro Romano is Clivo Argentario, 1 – Rome. Tel. +39 0669922332. Opening times: Only on Sunday mornings at 11 AM, to celebrate mass. Admission is free. (At the moment the church is closed for restoration.)
The San Giuseppe dei Falegnami Church was constructed in 1546. It was commissioned by the Fraternity of Blacksmiths and Carpenters (Arciconfraternita dei Fabbri e dei Falegnami). Before the construction of this church mass was celebrated in the Mamertine Prison itself.
Towards the end of the 16th century it was decided to reconstruct the church. Initially this task was given to Giacomo della Porta, but in 1597 he was replaced by Giovan Battista Montano. It took the latter five years to finish the job.
In 1621 Giovan Battista Soria enlarged the oratorium. He also built the sacristy. Both projects were completed by Antonio del Grande.
The steps leading up to the entrance were built in 1625. Originally there were two sets of steps, but the right ones were moved in 1932, when the Via dei Fori Imperiali was constructed.
In 1941 the openings in the portico were enlarged.
The façade was designed by Montano. Hardly anything is left of the wall paintings that decorated this façade. Vague outlines are left of the “Flight to Egypt” above the main entrance and the “Saints Peter and Paul” on the sides. The artist is thought to have been Avanzino Nucci.
The church consists of a single nave. The interior was reconstructed in 1880. The architect of this reconstruction was Antonio Parisi, who turned the square apse into a round round one and restored the arch in the rectory.
Works of art San Giuseppe dei Falegnami Kerk Rome
Ceiling and reliefs
Montano designed the wooden ceiling and, in 1612, also the central relief (“Birth”). The “Saints Peter and Paul” and “Saint Joseph and Child” were made by the Flemish artist Melchiorrre Van Boon. Francesco Fangerilli finished this work.
The frescoes on the upper part of the walls were painted in 1883 by Cesare Mariani. In the same year A. Maccaroni painted the inner wall of the façade with representations of Joseph’s forefathers.
“The Passage of Saint Joseph”, by Bartolomeo Colombo was painted in 1648.
“The Virgin’s Wedding” (1605), near the main altar, is the work of Horace Le Blanc.
The most famous paining in the church is “The Birth of Christ” and was painted by Carlo Maratti (1651).