The wooden roof of a 16th-century church in Rome collapsed yesterday, causing severe damage, but no injuries.
The San Giuseppe dei Falegnami Church is built over the Mamertine Prison in the Roman Forum. About three-quarters of the roof of San Guiseppe is reported to have caved in. The Chapel of the Crucifix, a 16th-century chapel that lies beneath the church, but is also built above the prison, is believed to have suffered minor damage from the collapse of the church's roof.
The prison, an underground dungeon dating back to the 7th century B.C.E. is not believed to have sustained damage.
Thankfully, it seems no one was inside the church when the roof collapsed. Firefighters responding to the scene brought in sniffer dogs to ensure that no one was buried in the rubble. A priest in an adjoining building was reportedly uninjured.
The church has been a popular tourist destination for its history, architecture, and its location on Rome's Capitoline Hill. The church is also a popular choice for weddings, according to one Italian report, two weddings were scheduled there for this weekend.
The prison that rests beneath the church has special significance for Christians. According to legend the Apostles Peter and Paul were both imprisoned there. Of course, we do not exactly have an abundance of corroboration for that, at least not from the actual time of the apostles.
In any case, no reports yet on what repairs may be undertaken on the church in order to restore it. The Catholic Church might be saving its money for potential payouts to sexual assault victims.