Main Apse

The presbytery was renovated in 1981 to a design by architects A. Srimieri, F. Genco and M. Caproni. The steps and the floor are in dawn pink marble. Here the sculptor, Giacomo Manzù has created a masterpiece, a true hymn of art to the holiness of Rita.

The oval-shaped tabernacle, with ears of corn and vine shoots on top and a rose in the centre, symbolises the life and the peace that is the Eucharist, and therein, Christ the Lord.

The side panels are olive branches with doves, "true symbol of the saint: peace of the spirit", as stated by the artist himself.

The altar table, a sheet of crystal, rests on the twisted branches of a vine, fused into a single bronze cast gilded with mercury.

The beautiful crucifix, totally disfigured by suffering, hangs from an olive branch-shaped cross to signify that it is from him that peace comes in all its dimensions: upwards, towards brothers, towards the created.

The olive branch, with its obvious biblical connotations, is also supported by Manzù on the ambo and the Eucharistic lamp. These admirable sculptures in gilded bronze celebrate well the simple and humble figure of Saint Rita, a builder of peace and love with the forgiveness and gift of herself.

The frescoes in the main apse are the work of Luigi Filocamo, in the basin of which he has depicted the Last Supper outdoors with a blue sky. The perspective gives the visitor the feeling of being expected and invited to the banquet.

The triumphal arch contains representations of the sacrifice of Isaac, with Abraham wielding the knife, and the Passover, Old Testament prophecies of the Eucharist.

In the area of the women’s gallery,from the left, beatified and canonised Augustinians: Frederick of Regensburg (Germany + 1329) while receiving communion from an angel; Juliana of Mount-Cornillon (Belgium + 1259) as she passes through the flame with a glass in her hand to show the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Gratia of Kotor (Croatia + 1508); Thomas of Villanova (Spain + 1555); Nicholas of Tolentino (Italy + 1305); Limbania of Cyprus (XII century); Augustine (Algeria +430) with an eagle, symbol of greatness and loftiness of thought, at his feet; Veronica of Milan (Italy + 1497); John of Sahagùn (Spain + 1479); Alfonso de Orozco (Spain + 1591); Santa of Cori (Latina, Italy + 1392); Rita of Cascia (+ 1457); Blessed Simon of Cascia (Italy + 1348), while the priest performs the Eucharistic miracle which occurred in 1330; Maria Teresa Fasce of Torriglia (Genoa, Italy + 1947). The stained glass windows depicting various Eucharistic miracles are by Armando Marrocco.

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