Colle di Fuori: church you would not expect

Observing the view from Rocca Priora, the highest township of the Castelli Romani, you can see between two strips of land a small urban settlement dominated by an unusual church with a tall steeple that leaves us the feeling of being in an alpine landscape.

But no, we are in Colle di Fuori a small ‘fraction’ of Rocca Priora some twenty kilometers from Rome.

Today Colle di Fuori is a small town, a rural village consisting of houses of one or two levels, surrounded by vineyards and orchards hiding in the folds of the hills and mountains of Lazio. To get to this village you need to travel up the road from the San Cesareo brings to the countryside itself.

And it is along this road that we can closely observe the symbol of the Church of the countryside, founded at the behest of the bishop of the Tuscolana Diocese Michele Lega when in 1929 he visited the small village. In that time Colle di Fuori was just a group of huts from peasants of Capranica Prenestina who settled in these parts.

The first stone of the project engineer Carlo Strocchi, was laid on August 24, 1930 during a solemn ceremony at the end of which the bishop laid a parchment, signed by all the authorities present, in a lead pipe that in turn was inserted in a box of stone under the church’s foundations.

To observe it from nearby one passes through the town square, where you will always find people who are intrigued by your passing and will not miss the opportunity to intercept you on your way and tell the story of a small but important symbolic monument of an area that was born.

The natural slope of the land welcomes the Church and underlines even more its main facade characterized by the size of the high bell tower which is accessed directly from within the church. The imposing features of the building are reduced by long slits on each side of the tower and the presence of two small arcades that frame the wooden entrance portal.

Your gaze runs down the single aisle toward the deep apse, in which there is placed the Madonna del Buon Consiglio to which the Church is dedicated. Light pours through the stained glass windows that accentuate the side elevations and remind us with images and symbolism of Christ’s life.

Walking in, one cannot but notice the design of the floor divided into slabs of marble and brick gres (sintered ceramic tiles), and then proceeding towards the presbytery, raised above the floor of the nave, we find another unusual element whose beauty cannot escape even the more careless eye.

The front of the altar is decorated with gilded stucco on white background with the Bernardiano emblem, vegetable plots and an altarpiece with two Corinthian columns supporting a pediment. This altar was formerly located in Villa Mondragone, now the property of the University of Tor Vergata, and was donated by the Jesuits on the sale of the villa to the University.

That should be enough to encourage you to travel the road that leads to this small village and its many surprises for people like me who love history and uniqueness of places that are unknown to most.