Located in Washington, DC, this small yet highly ornate Roman Catholic Chapel is dedicated to Italian Americans. The Chapel itself is located on the upper level of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is the 8th largest church in the world, and houses over 60 chapels and oratories dedicated to various religious orders and ethnic groups. The Chapel, designed in the Romanesque style, features a floor created in ancient Cosmati marble mosaic patterns typical to the 12th-century construction of Rome and Pompei.
Romanesque arches, which frame the mosaic seen upon entering, is flanked by two Verde Antique marble columns. Beautifully veined wall panels of Italian Calacatta Giallo Siena marble adorn the chapel walls, and all the wall panels are diamond book matched with 1 mm joints. The floor is of a luxurious Cosmati design, a form of “cutwork” of elaborate inlays, vigorous in color and design, which relate to Romanesque art.
The Cosmati family began creating their signature floor designs in the 12th century. The ceiling and rear wall of the Chapel feature hand-cut Venetian glass mosaic all installed in the classic indirect method. The floor is unique in that there are no joints and so the mosaic appears to be hand laid.
Positioned near the center of the Chapel is a marble altar, the mensa of which is a solid block of Botticino Classico marble. The four green marble columns supporting the mensa correlate to the monolithic columns on either side of the niche containing the mosaic of Our Lady. The work was completed in September 2008 and has received enormous praise for its very high level of quality and precision joinery.