According to its author, Paolo Portoghesi, the Church of the Holy Family (‘Sacra Famiglia’) in Salerno “is an effort to speak a certain code, the typical building which stands out for its style and therefore will find its place in the history of architecture”.
The style of the 1974 church denounces the Roman architect’s need to avoid dialectic contrasts between tradition and modernity in his work, and his will to search instead for points of convergence and continuity between them.
The windows revealed when entering the building from its main entrance, indeed, offer visitors the image of a traditional church, with a sloped roof and high bell tower. But a look inside unveils architectural choices that became typical after the Second Vatican Council, with the altar in the center and the ambon – a “noble, stable and elevated tribune”, as described in an important document by the Italian Episcopal Conference, explaining how churches should adapt to the Council’s liturgical reform – in an off-center but complementary position.
Leaving rules and reforms aside, let your gaze wander among the mesmerizing concentric circles that are featured throughout the building – according to Portoghesi, they symbolize the wholeness and central nature of god.