Italian Church Design Is Stunning Dedication to the Episcopal Church’s Youngest Saint

Located in the Italian town of Mormanno overlooking the National Park of Pollino, the Santa Maria Goretti church is an elegant new center for the community. Designed by Mario Cucinella Architects, the structure is defined by its simplicity and minimalism.

The church takes the shape of a four-leaf clover. When viewed in elevation—or straight ahead—the building is a simple white mass with no visible openings except the clever entrance which peels back from a massive cross that is scaled to the height of the entire building.

The Episcopal Conference of Italy held a design competition for the project—a new church dedicated to Saint Maria Goretti. Goretti is the church’s youngest saint and the patroness of purity, young women, and victims of assault. It is fitting that the church designed in her honor is so “pure” in its materiality and form.

Within the structure, parishioners find a contemporary place of worship with modern steel and wood chairs also designed by the architects. Most notably, long pieces of fabric hang from the tall ceiling in interesting waves to create a spiritual light effect below. This intervention and the unusual furniture both hint at the designers’ stance on the project. “Designing a church is a message of continuity with the spirit of art that has passed unperturbed through the centuries of humanity,” says Cucinella.

Mario Cucinella Architects hopes that the project will benefit the community by providing a place for worship and by acting as an example of more sustainable building processes. The design minimizes energy usage and includes a green roof, interior courtyards, and a garden in front of a rectory for added plant life.

Santa Maria Goretti church by Mario Cucinella is an elegantly minimalist place of worship with a clever entrance.

Mario Cucinella Architects: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn
Duccio Malagamba: Website | Instagram | Facebook 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Mario Cucinella Architects.

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Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at
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