AddressVia di Settebagni 376
Telephone: (+39) 06-9480-5050
Announcement:4 October 2008
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication:23 October 2010 by Thomas S. Monson
Public Open House:28 January–16 February 2019
Dedication:10–12 March 2019 by Russell M. Nelson
Site:14.5 acres | 5.9 hectares
Exterior Finish:Bianco Sardo Granite
Architectural Features:Two attached end spires with an angel Moroni statue
Ordinance Rooms:Two instruction rooms (two-stage progressive), three sealing rooms, and one baptistry
Total Floor Area:41,010 square feet | 3,810 square meters
Height:156 feet 3 inches | 47.6 meters
Elevation:167 feet | 51 meters
The Rome Italy Temple sits on an elevated 15-acre site in northeast Rome near the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the circular beltway that surrounds the city. The picturesque country site, once adorned by a charming villetta, sits on the outskirts of the city at a freeway interchange. The parcel is punctuated with Roman pines and an exquisite stand of olive trees. The temple shares the property with a stake center, visitors' center, family history center, and accommodation center.
The Rome Italy Temple was the thirteenth temple built on the continent of Europe and the first built in the country of Italy.
The Rome Italy Temple was built on the site of an Italian villetta, which had served for a time as an apartment for full-time missionaries.
The on-site office trailers used in the construction of the Rome Italy Temple were donated to community organizations once the office space could be relocated to the completed patron housing facility.
The dedication of the Rome Italy Temple marked the first time that the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gathered to one location outside the United States.
The resplendent interior of the Rome Italy Temple features beautiful Italian-quarried Perlato Svevo marble on floors, walls, and countertops. Magnificent floor work is featured in the baptistry and grand foyer, which reflects Michelangelo's design at the Piazza del Campidoglio on top of Rome's Capitoline Hill. The pattern is also seen in the sculpted off-white carpets in the Celestial and sealing rooms.1
The visitors' center at the Rome Italy Temple features reproductions of Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus statue and the twelve apostles. The originals were sculpted in Rome and transported to Copenhagen in 1838 to stand in Vor Frue Kirke, the National Cathedral of Denmark.
The Rome Italy Temple is the centerpiece of a complex of buildings with religious and cultural significance to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
- Temple. A worship facility for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction to strengthen Church members' relationships to God, family, and those around them.
- Stake Center (Meetinghouse). A chapel where members and visitors meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities.
- Visitors' Center. A building for visitors to learn about the Church through a collection of exhibitions including reproductions of Bertel Thorvaldsen's Christus statue and the twelve apostles. The originals were sculpted in Rome and transported to Copenhagen in 1838 to stand in Vor Frue Kirke, the National Cathedral of Denmark.
- Family History Center. A family history library providing the public the use of facilities and equipment to conduct genealogical research free of charge.
- Accommodation Center. A lodging facility for temple workers and patrons who must travel long distances to Rome.
- Formal Grounds. Meticulous landscaping that surrounds the entire complex, creating a peaceful, contemplative environment where visitors may feel the joy and beauty of God's creations.
President Thomas S. Monson's announcement of the Rome Italy Temple produced wide smiles and an audible gasp of surprise from the congregation in the Conference Center at the Saturday Morning Session of the October 2008 General Conference.
Italian members met the announcement with the animated cheering and enthusiasm you might expect to see in a sports arena during a last-second win, explained President Massimo De Feo, president of the Rome Italy Stake. He added that after the temple announcement, the stake saw the baptism of full families for the first time. In the previous five years, the number of stakes in Italy had grown from three to six, and temple attendance at the distant Bern Switzerland Temple had been much higher from the Saints in Italy than from any other country in the temple district.2
A charming Italian villetta that stood at the highest point of the Rome Italy Temple site was razed to make way for the buildings in the temple complex. The villetta had served for a time as an apartment for full-time missionaries.
Although just a small section of the site had been originally permitted for construction of the Rome Italy Temple, zoning modifications were approved that allowed for development of the entire parcel.3
Building sites in Rome must be examined for Roman ruins before construction is permitted. The inspection is carried out by digging trenches every 10 to 15 feet across the property. The day that the Rome Italy Temple property was to be inspected, Church members in Rome held a special fast. No ruins were found over the entire property, yet an old Roman village was discovered just 100 yards beyond the property boundary line. The Church had purchased the property in the late 1990s.4
President Thomas S. Monson presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rome Italy Temple on Saturday, October 23, 2010. He was accompanied by Church officials including Elder William R. Walker, Executive Director of the Temple Department; Erich W. Kopischke, president of the Europe Area and his two counselors, Elder Gérald Caussé and Elder José A. Teixeira; Elder Alfredo L. Gessati, Area Seventy; President Massimo De Feo, president of the Rome Italy Stake; and President Raimondo Castellani, president of the Bern Switzerland Temple. Numerous government officials were also in attendance including Mr. Giuseppe Ciardi, vice mayor of Rome, and Senator Lucio Malan.
In his remarks, President Monson emphasized the unique and historic nature of the temple's construction with significance extending beyond the borders of Rome and Italy. He thanked the Saints for their faithfulness and commitment to follow the example of Jesus Christ, urging them to be good citizens. He said, we love, honor and obey the laws of the country, and we love, honor, and obey the laws of God.5
Construction of the Rome Italy Temple began in earnest in July 2011 and progressed steadily over the next two and a half years. By early 2014, however, progress had slowed to a crawl. On September 7, members of the Rome Italy East Stake dedicated their fast to the construction progress of the temple. The long delays prompted an official statement from the Church in January 2015: "In recent months, progress on the Rome Italy Temple slowed due to contractor difficulties not related to this project. Those challenges have been addressed, and work will soon resume at a normal pace. No dates have been announced for completion. We are grateful that our members have extended their faith and prayers and sought heaven's help in seeing this important project through to completion."
In the months that followed, foreign contractors were flown in to oversee completion of the building as visas could be acquired. For much of 2015 and 2016, work focused on replacing subpar materials and completing tasks that would bring the temple to the standard contracted by the Church.
On March 25, 2017, construction of the Rome Italy Temple reached an important milestone with the installation of the angel Moroni atop the eastern spire. The event marked the steady progression of construction experienced under the new general contractor.
A media day for the open house of the Rome Italy Temple was held on Monday, January 14, 2019. "I've seen it under construction for two years now, but walking through it today was extraordinary, a very special experience," said Marcello De Vito, president of the Rome City Council. "It will certainly improve the architecture of our city." Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles lead tours for journalists and other political leaders and filmed a virtual tour. The general public was invited to tour the complex from January 28 through February 16, 2019.6
The dedication of the Rome Italy Temple marked the first time in history when the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gathered to one location outside the United States. All fifteen brethren posed for a photograph in the visitors' center taken in front of the reproductions of Bertel Thorvaldsen's statues of the Christus and twelve apostles.
President Russell M. Nelson dedicated the temple in seven sessions held Sunday, March 10, through Tuesday, March 12, 2019. He said in his dedicatory prayer, "In this ancient and great city that has stood since biblical times—in this historic nation of Italy—we acknowledge the ministry of two of Thy Son’s early Apostles, Peter and Paul, who once blessed this land with their labors. May the influence of their abiding testimony of Jesus Christ continue to be felt among the vital values of this great country."
The Rome Italy Temple is constructed primarily of cast-in-place concrete with a Bianco Sardo granite façade. The stone was quarried and carved in Italy by Savema (S.P.A.) of Pietrasanta, Italy.
Exterior glass features a floral effect influenced by olive trees on the temple site. The glass on all exterior windows, including those in the spires, is in a variety of hues. Holdman Studios and Glass Art Institute of Utah, USA, designed and created the art glass.
InSite Design Group of Utah, USA, used native plants throughout the temple grounds. The Roman pines located on the site were preserved from existing vegetation, as were 32 of the original olive trees, which were relocated to various areas on the grounds. They are thought to be up to 150 years old. The four main olive trees planted in the piazza, though not original to the site, were purchased in northern Italy and range in age from 400 to 500 years old.
Designed by Water Design Incorporated of Utah, USA, the main fountain cascades down into four additional pools and is constructed from Travertine stone with bronze grating. Additionally, the grounds feature a reflecting pool near the temple with a flowing stream leading to the visitors’ center, where a statue of the Christus is located.
Walkways surrounding the temple are constructed of Travertine and Porfido pavers. The stone, quarried from various locations and carved in Italy, was installed by Consorzio Italiano Del Forfido of Trento, Italy. The fence surrounding the temple site on three sides is constructed from plastered concrete, stone pilasters and custom wrought iron fencing. The design of the fences correlates with railings inside the temple and incorporates an oval motif design, a recurring theme in both the interior and exterior finishes. They were supplied and installed by Siro Marin of Padua, Italy.
The primary stone used on the floors, stone base, walls and countertops throughout the temple is Perlato Svevo. It was quarried and carved in Italy by Savema of Pietrasanta, Italy.
A variety of materials have been used on the floors of the temple. Many of the floors feature Perlato Svevo from Lucca, Italy. Accent stone is used on the floor in the baptistry and the grand stair lobby. Patterns were inspired by Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio located at the top of Capitoline Hill in Rome and include the artist’s intriguing oval design. Stones used in the floor patterns are cenia marble, quarried in Spain, and Mediterranean beige travertine, quarried in Italy. Sky lark marble, quarried in Brazil; emperado light marble, quarried in Turkey; and lapis lazuli are used as accents. In other areas of the temple, afyon sugar, Jerusalem gold marble and limestone, quarried in Turkey, and crema marfil marble, quarried in Spain, are utilized. Carpeting is of brown, blue, taupe and green hues with an organic leaf pattern, inspired by the site’s olive trees. Carpets in the celestial and sealing rooms are off-white with carvings reflected in the decorative painting and inspired by the Campidoglio. Carpeting is by Bentley of California, USA, and was installed by Commercial Flooring Systems located in Utah, USA.
The ceilings throughout the temple are adorned with simple, yet elegant, decorative painting in golds, blues, creams and greens. Some gold leafing is also featured. The designs, created and executed by Iconography from Utah, USA, were inspired by the olive tree, Roman acanthus leaves and the Campidoglio. The walls are painted with Italian gypsum plaster, and decorative plaster is used in the instruction rooms, above the grand stair area and in the brides’ room.
Art glass is featured in 19 doorways, one decorative partition and two lay lights. Though seen throughout the temple, it is most employed in the celestial room. Two basic designs were created for the glass: one of a symmetric, non-representational pattern, and the second the same olive tree pattern used in the exterior windows. A variety of hues were included in the glass pallet.
The temple has over 200 decorative lighting fixtures, most made of Murano glass from Venice, Italy, with designs ranging from simple organic textures to carved bowls. Nine chandeliers using Australian Swarovski Strass Crystal and 24k gold custom banding are featured in the instruction rooms. The celestial room chandelier contains rectangular prisms; the shape is repeated in the ceiling lay light. The grand stair chandelier, inspired by Chihuly, incorporates the Venetian leaf pattern. All were manufactured by Rocco Borghese of London, England.
A combination of painted and stained woods were used throughout the temple. The primary wood used is sapele. Accent woods include pommele, anigre, burl veneer and cherry. Materials were supplied by Fondell of Utah, USA, and installed by Thayne International of Utah and Picalarga of Rome, Italy.
Constructed of custom bronze and glass, the railing surrounding the baptismal font incorporates the oval motif used throughout other areas in the temple.
Doors are manufactured from sapele, pommele sapele and anigre. While some are painted, many doors feature an inlay pattern of two ovals, one on either end. They were supplied by Fondell of Utah, USA. The design is repeated in the door hardware, which was manufactured by Smith Design located in Texas, USA.
Most walls are painted gypsum plaster. Wall paint is by Nerobutto Tiziano & Francesco from Trento, Italy. Vinyl wallcoverings used in high-traffic areas are by Professional Painting Company of Utah, USA.
The ceilings are constructed of painted hard-lid gypsum plaster and glass fiber-reinforced gypsum.
The murals seen in the instruction rooms are by Leon Parson from Idaho, USA. Artwork in the baptistry depicting the Savior’s baptism is by Heather Theurer from Oregon, USA.
The growth of the Church in Italy has not been without its opposition. Just three years after the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the first missionaries arrived in Genoa, Italy, on June 25, 1850, including Elder Lorenzo Snow, who would become the fifth president of the Church. Over the next three years, 221 people were baptized and organized into three branches. But most proselytizing in Italy stopped in the early 1860s in the face of local opposition and because of a request from Church leaders for Italian members to immigrate to Utah. An attempt to reopen missionary work in Italy in 1900 was refused by the government.
The Church was finally reestablished in Italy in 1951, following the conversion of Vincenzo di Francesca, who happened to find a burned copy of the Book of Mormon with a missing cover and title page. Italians who had joined the Church in other countries began to return to Italy during this period. They attended Church with LDS serviceman stationed in Italy in various branches. By the end of 1964, Church records showed 229 members in Italy. That same year, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, an apostle who would become the 13th president of the Church, petitioned the government for permission to resume missionary work. Permission was granted, and missionaries began to proselyte on January 27, 1965. By 1978, membership has grown to over 7,000 and increased to 14,000 by 1990. Today there are over 22,600 members organized into 10 stakes and 1 district.7
Although missionary work had been allowed in Italy since 1964, the Church began in 2000 the lengthy process of seeking a concordat with the government that would grant it state-sponsored status. This status was granted to the Roman Catholic Church in a concordat signed by Mussolini—a relationship that was perpetuated into Italy's post-fascist constitution. Since 1984, however, the Catholic Church has had to share this level of government recognition with other religions operating in Italy. Approved churches become concordates, which receive tax funds and other rights from the government similar to those received by the Catholic Church.8
At a London fireside, Elder Kenneth Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy related events that have contributed to the Italian government's official recognition of the Church. In October 2006, he accompanied other high-ranking Church leaders, including Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, to a meeting in Rome to make a case for the Church to the government. President Uchtdorf noted the Church's longtime presence and reputation in Italy, but the presiding government official seemed unmoved. Instead, he related that he had traveled—without announcement—to Salt Lake City in preparation for the meeting. Two Italian sister missionaries had served as his guides on Temple Square. He noted the deep impression left on him by these two Italian citizens, and then inquired when the Church might build a temple in Rome. Once these papers are signed, Elder Uchtdorf replied. The officer signed. On April 4, 2007, Prime Minister Prodi gave his signature, and then it proceeded to Parliament.9
With legal recognition still stalled in Parliament in late 2009, the Church took the step of hiring a Washington, D.C., lobbyist to help push through the approval. A. Elizabeth Jones, a former high-level State Department employee and ambassador to Kazakhstan, who is now an executive vice president at APCO Worldwide, is lobbying the U.S. embassy in Italy to support the Church's application. The intesa—an Italian term referring to an "understanding" with the government—would carry certain privileges including facilitating the authorization of bishops to perform civilly recognized marriages and making the renewal of visas for missionaries easier.10
On May 13, 2010, the Italian Cabinet, or Council of Ministers, approved an intesa with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which would grant the Church Italy's highest status given to religions. The action would elevate the legal recognition of the Church from charitable foundation to official religion.11
The action of the Council of Ministers culminated on July 30, 2012, when the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, signed the intesa into law, making the Church a "partner of the state." Maurizio Ventura, president of the Pisa congregation, said, "The intesa is a fulfillment of a long-awaited blessing." The new legal status—the highest status granted to religions in Italy—gives the Church greater freedom to do more good. John Zackrison, director of the International Coordinating Committee of the Church, explained the benefits: "It will eliminate current barriers that frequently interfere with our Church leaders performing marriages and otherwise ministering, it will smooth the process for obtaining visas for missionaries and mission presidents, and it will grant unquestioned freedom for the Church to perform any functions or activities deemed essential to its worldwide mission," as well as grant Church clergy the ability to visit members and those in need with automatic access to state hospitals, prisons and military barracks. Perhaps most rewarding for Italian members is the recognition of the Church as a legitimate Christian faith. Ventura explained that the long process was a "time of work, a time of prayers, a time of preparation and finally a time of full recognition."12
- Gerry Avant, "Temples reflect growth of the LDS Church," Deseret News 4 Apr. 2014.
- Massimo De Feo, "Massimo De Feo—Stake President in Rome, Italy," Mormon Channel: Into All the World 29 Apr. 2009.
- President and Sister Pacini, "Fast for Temple," Facebook 28 Aug. 2009.
- "Rome Italy Temple News," Online posting, 9 Nov. 2008.
- "Il Presidente Monson Presiede la Cerimonia del Primo Colpo di Piccone del Primo Tempio in Italia," Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni 23 Oct. 2010.
- Aubrey Eyre, "First look: Elder Bednar, Elder Rasband tour the Rome Italy Temple with journalists and political dignitaries," Church News, 9 Aug. 2019.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, "First Temple Announced in Rome," 4 Oct. 2008.
- Peggy Fletcher Stack, "LDS Church Wants to Be Official in Italy," The Salt Lake Tribune 9 Sept. 2000: A1.
- John F., "Two LDS Senators in London," Online posting, 21 May 2007.
- Carrie Levine, "For Italian Job, Mormons Ask a D.C. Insider for Help," The National Law Journal 6 Oct. 2009.
- "Il Consiglio dei Ministri ha approvato l'intesa della Chiesa di Gesù Cristo," Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni 13 May 2010.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, "Mormons in Italy Rejoice, Church Granted Country's 'Official' Status," 3 Aug. 2012.