Rome Temple: Martyrs, Missionaries, and Murals

3D computerized image of the completed Rome Temple

Italy is timelessly historic. A standing religious memorial, its rock-paved roads bring visitors back to when Peter walked the streets of Rome. Back to when art wasn’t just a way of making a living, but evidence that God is the ultimate creator and  inspiration.

One day among the cracked walls and aged paint of the monuments, leaves visitors speechless yet disappointed.

Their photos will never express the same peace they felt while dawn approached the fields of Tuscany. Nor the magnitude and weight of questions on their mind when, wandering out of the metro station, they were first faced with the ravishing giant Colosseo.

The fresh taste of gelato al limone lingers with tourists during the hot summers, as well as the memory of what pizza margherita should taste like—spread with crushed tomatoes and basil leaves, scattered with juicy, bold mozzarella, and baked in a fire-stone oven.

While these newly-heightened senses and sights will be kept close to tourists’ hearts, the spirit felt at the Mormon Rome Temple may soon be the greatest souvenir visitors take with them.

Table of Contents

Preparing the Place

Fast Facts

Address: Via di Settebagni, 376, Rome, Italy.

Site size: 14.5 acres

Temple size: 40,000 sq. feet

Land previously used for: Farm land 

 

Acquiring the Land

Wheat and Poppy fields near the Rome Italy Temple
Bufalotta, Roma: Open farm land with Mediterranean Stone Pine trees, wheat, and red poppies near the temple site on Via de Settebagni

In 1997, the Rome Italy Mission President, Leone Flosi, sent a request to the European Area offices, for the construction of a chapel for the Roma 2 Ward. Once the request was approved, Brother Vioncenzo Modugno, a recently retired facility manager in Italy, was assigned the duty of starting to search in the northern area of Rome.

For two years, Brother Modugno and local church leaders endlessly looked through newspaper ads, and drove around the streets of Rome in a light-gray Opel Zafira to evaluate possible lands.

Brother Modugno’s Italian leather moccasins, or wingtip brogues,—depending on the day—would rev against the clutch of the Church’s company car, his eyes searching and brow furrowing with the same uncertainty as the question: What would this new land actually be used for?

Meanwhile,  two consecutive Rome mission presidents went about their work blooming with this spiritual intuition: The land that was found would not only be used for a chapel, but for a temple.

Through the morning fog in Autumn of ’99, after other Church leaders had found and evaluated three other possible lands, the Church finally approved to purchase an investment on Via di Settebagni; a land with farms dispersed across fields of grass, and Mediterranean Stone pine trees that jaggedly reach for the blue skies of Italy.

That November, the biggest part of the land was purchased.

By February 2000, the rest of the land that would one day be used for the temple, had been purchased.

Maintaining the Land

A map of the temple grounds before the temple started being built.
Basic map of the buildings on Via di Settebagni before Temple construction began

Modugno not only helped purchase the land for the temple, but was involved in maintaining the buildings and gardens on the land when it was purchased.  The most prominent feature on the land was a proper three-story farmhouse.

On the bottom floor of the farmhouse, there were metal tracks where livestock were hung, and butchered. Stored along the walls, were large wooden casks that held 300-400 gallons of wine.

The barn was packed with feed, hay, a plow and other farm tools. Around the barn were pig pens and chicken coops, while on the back side was a brick oven for making pizza and a water well that had never run dry.

As lovely as this farmland was, it was abandoned, and gypsies were illegally occupying the building. The land was exposed and not fenced in, but the upper floors of the farmhouse were livable.

The mission president at the time, President Pacini, decided to use the building as an apartment complex for the office missionaries and Elders visiting for conferences. They fenced-in the land and moved bunk beds and mattresses into the upper floors.

Cut ahead to February, 2015. Vincenzo Modugno, sat casually on his turquoise living-room couch, occasionally sweeping his hand over his thinned brown hair and brushing over his grayed sideburns, he recounted all the memories of helping maintain the land for the temple.

“When the missionaries left the building, the gypsies kept trying to occupy the building again,” he said, slightly frustrated at the thought, leaning on his knees. His face—an almost identical, tanned Robert De Niro—shook with disapproval and looked down at his hands.

One cannot help but smile at the thought of such a patient, gentle man, such as Modugno, evacuating Romani women and children, their earth-colored shawls draped about them and gold bracelets clinking about their wrists as they shuffled out of the farmhouse, their long skirts dragging behind them as Modugno perhaps asked, E voi che ci fate qui?

Until it was officially announced that the temple would be built there, and he could have the abandoned farmhouse destroyed, Modugno had to continually make sure that gypsies and local sheep herders were not moving onto the land.

Blessing the Land

Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane
One mission president had a special way of praying for the temple land

“At first, personally, I didn’t think it was going to be the land for the temple,” Modugno admitted.

There was nothing around the land. No buses, metros (subways), or public services. There wasn’t even the current exit off of the freeway, 500 yards away from the temple. However, one mission president in particular, President Pacini, started a very spiritual activity on the land before anyone even knew it would be used for the temple.

“On that land, there are probably more than 100 olive trees,” Vincenzo noted, stuttering with the uncertainty of his English numbers.

Starting in the Fall of 1999, on a Thursday morning, the missionaries would arrive in Rome jet-lagged and, some, quite frightened. The adrenaline of this new experience was the only thing that would keep them awake. Some of them had never been on an airplane before, or would never again serve specifically in Rome.

Thus, for three years, every six weeks, President Pacini would take all the new missionaries, in the middle of the day, on a brief tour of Rome, and then to Via di Settebagni, what is now the temple land, so they could see the olive trees.

“Most of the missionaries probably . . . would never have the opportunity to see an olive tree [in their lives].” Vincenzo explained with a modest laugh. Vincenzo helped prune the olive trees so that President Pacini could show the difference between a wild and tame tree.

After arriving in the garden and taking time to admire the olive trees and explain their symbolism, President Pacini would leave the missionaries to find a secluded place in the garden. A place of soft dirt or a patch of grass, so that they could kneel in the midst of the quiet, sacred nature and pray.

“It wasn’t up to us to say [the land] was for a temple,” President Pacini noted, as he reflected on those moments in the olive grove, “But we did explain that the brethren wouldn’t have spent this kind of money [on the land], if they didn’t see a future for the Church in Italy.”

This activity of praying in the olive grove was symbolic to the Savior’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, otherwise known as “The Garden of Olives,” just before His crucifixion.

Pacini explained it simply. “My challenge was just to make sure I did what [the Lord] asked, because it was His work, not mine.”

Three months into their missions, the missionaries would return to President Pacini in Rome. After having been vulnerably faced with the new Italian language, many felt discouraged by a haunting feeling that they were letting the Lord down with their inability to communicate fluently with investigators.

Joining back with President Pacini and other missionaries from their MTC group, helped them to see one another’s immense progress. Hundreds of missionaries were also asked to participate in another activity that changed their perspective.

President Pacini had all of the missionaries write a personal letter to themselves, as if they were at the end of their two-year mission, even though they had just gotten through the first three months. What had been accomplished? He would ask. President Pacini felt it to be a much more powerful form of goal-setting at that point of their mission.

President Pacini continued this exercise throughout his three years as mission president and kept all of the missionary’s letters.

With tears building to the brim of his eyes, Pacini voiced that many of the hundreds of letters mentioned the temple in them, before the declaration of the temple had even come to pass.

“They would say things like, ‘How great it is to be in the Lord’s vineyard, and labor and see a stake created. And see the temple start to be built.'” Pacini paraphrased.

The physical temple was not being built during their time as missionaries. As President Pacini says, “It was their vision.”

History and Future of Rome

Fast Facts

Religious Persecution in Rome: The execution of those that did not follow the practice of the Roman beliefs. This went on, sporadically, for 50 years, targeting the Bacchanals, Druids, Jews, and Christians randomly throughout history. 

Number of Christians Murdered throughout the Roman Empire: Estimated 100,000 saints

Introduced the Gospel to Italy: President Lorenzo Snow

Had a dream to promote the building of Mormon temples throughout Europe: Ezra Taft Benson 

 

The Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire

Religious Persecution in Rome
Christians were severely tortured and killed for their beliefs in Rome.

In order to understand the visions that have foreshadowed the growth of the Church in Italy today, we must first look back at history. One of the biggest historic moments throughout Italy was the religious persecution in the Roman Empire after Christ’s crucifixion.

Those who did not follow the beliefs of the majority of Romans, were seen as a threat to the Roman Empire (more specifically as a threat to a Roman Emperor). Christians were seen as cannibals, because of their symbolic partaking of the sacrament, representing the body and blood of Christ. They were also viewed as atheist because they refused to bow down to the Roman Gods.

This distaste towards Christians was not a universal feeling among all Romans. It was mostly expressed through one emperor: Nerō Claudius Caesar. 

Nero, the Roman Emperor from 54-68AD, was believed to have started the Great Fire of Rome, which he then blamed on the Christians; supposedly vindicating the torture and executions that followed.

Tacitus, a non-Christian Roman Historian, was alive during the persecution of these saints. As a witness, he said, “Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians.”

Saints who stood up for their faith were seized, convicted, and then punished severely. Their execution was turned into a game. Some were covered with the skins of beasts, and eaten alive by dogs. Others were nailed to crosses, like Christ, or set aflame and used as night-time lamps.

One of those murdered by crucifixion was Peter, the apostle. He considered himself unworthy to experience the same death as Christ, and requested to be crucified upside down. Another apostle that was beheaded in this religious persecution was Paul, a Roman citizen.

There is an estimate of 100 thousand members of the Church that were butchered throughout the Circus Maximus, Nero Circus–where the Vatican is located–and other places throughout the Roman Empire.

“Tens of thousands of faithful saints died for their testimonies in Italy.” Pacini reaffirmed, with rising emotion in his throat.

“And that is the blood that sanctifies this land…Their entire families were destroyed. They have no ancestors to do their work.” He paused, then solemnly stated the reality of Rome’s past:

There’s no one left.

This sentence was followed by a heavy silence, almost as if Pacini were listening for the words to say next, “More than anyone, [these Christian saints are] praying that they can be found, so that their [temple] work can be done.”

Letters of Future Inspiration from Lorenzo Snow

piedmont, italy
Piedmont, Italy, where Lorenzo Snow served his mission

In the Fall of 1850, Elder Lorenzo Snow traveled into Italy with two other companions to introduce the restored Gospel into the valleys of Italy. In the early months of his mission, he  wrote a letter to Brigham Young, from Piedmont, reporting on his arrival into Italy and the big task that lay ahead of him.

“It was well known that we had come to establish a church.” Elder Snow noted. “This was looked upon by many as an impossibility.”

After ascending a mountain and spending hours in prayer with his fellow Elders, they started to see progress and acceptance from some of the Italian people.

Seven months later, Lorenzo Snow left to England to oversee the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon in the Italian language.

Before leaving Turin, Italy he wrote a letter to President Hyde regarding his leaving and reflecting on the Italian country and the past persecution of the saints and future of the Church in Italy.

Even during this time, as in the time of Nero, the Protestants and Papists looked at each other as outcasts, but saw themselves as the favorites of heaven.

After reflecting on this conflict and despair of religious segregation, Elder Snow began recounting the greatness of the Roman Empire. As if saying a prayer to Italy, he wrote:

“O Italy! Thou birthplace and burial ground of the proud Caesars…land of literature and arts, and once the centre of the world’s civilization.”

Switching to the past events of religious persecution of the Christian saints, he wrote, “Poets who sung the praise of nations, and princes that wielded the sceptre of power during many a crisis of the world’s history, are laid low beneath the dust of thy fields and vineyards!”

Finally, the climax of his prayer to the people of Italy and the future generations:

O, Italy!…The future of thy story shall outshine the past, and thy children shall yet be more renowned than in the ages of old.

Many would say that Lorenzo Snow’s words reflect the progress of the Gospel to this great time of their first Latter-day Saint temple.

Not Just a Blessing to Italy

Satellite image of Europe at night
The dispersion of God’s children in Europe, as seen from space

Fast forward 160 years later, to the groundbreaking of the Rome Temple. Elder Kopischke, the Area President who spoke at the groundbreaking, shared a story about President Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President of the Mormon Church.

President Benson had a dream that influenced his desire to seek out land for a temple in Italy. In this dream, Karl Maeser came to him. Karl Maeser, a native German, was an educator and one of the first principals of what is now known as Brigham Young University, Provo. He said the following to President Benson:

“Brother Benson, what are you doing to promote the sacred work of temples with my people in Europe? … Will you please do all that you can to bring this about?”

This story alone foreshadows the growth of the LDS church and temples not only in Italy, but many other countries in Europe.

President Pacini reflected on this quote from President Benson’s dream, and shared the following idea that this temple is not the only blessing that we will see throughout the world.

He said, “[Heavenly Father] loves all of his children the same amount…He is doing the very same kinds of [miracles] with all of His children wherever they are…we’re just blessed to see this piece. But, it is only indicative of what is happening a thousand times over throughout the world.”

Church Growth

Fast Facts

Number of new members since October 2008: 2,000+ members  

Number of stakes added since 2008: 5 stakes

New stakes: Verona, Palermo, Rome West, Milan East, and Florence

Current LDS numbers in Italy: 10 stakes and 26,550 members.

Growth Due to the Temple

Map of LDS Italy Stakes
5 out of the 10 stakes in Italy were added after the temple announcement in 2008.

Vincenzo Modugno, currently the second counselor in the Rome Fourth Ward bishopric, expressed gratitude for such growth in the Italian church. “I’m sure there will be more members. Our [branch] used to only have 35 active members, and now we have 70-75 active members [in our ward].”

Many believe that the development of the temple has a lot to do with this growth. Vincenzo is confident that the temple has helped to increase the participation and involvement of members.

“Everybody is awaiting the [building of this] temple that there is so much excitement and there is more of a desire to do work.” Vincenzo said with gusto and a slight quiver in his voice.

From a spiritual and practical level, President Dini Ciacci, the Stake President of the Rome West Stake, also believes that the temple has a lot to do with this growth.

He says that, realistically, the temple has given the LDS Church a lot of publicity.

“A lot more people know about the Church because of the temple being in the news or newspapers, and magazines. On a spiritual level, I think the Lord wants a lot of work done in this temple and so it needs a lot more people ready for that.”

President Pacini agrees with Dini Ciacci’s spiritual idea that the strengthening of the members is what then encourages the building of the temple. While he was the Mission President, many people would ask him why the missionaries were so successful in their mission.  Pacini’s response:

“They started, and their vision was to build a kingdom of God. It was not a program to get some kind of award. It wasn’t a bunch of meaningless goals. They were there to build a temple. And they knew that the first step was to get a stake. And to get a stake, there had to be good, strong active families in each branch.”

Blessings and Struggles

Alessandro Dini Ciacci presenting plans for the Rome Temple
Stake President Dini Ciacci presenting the temple draft to the Vice Mayor of Rome, Luigi Nieri.

The day President Monson announced the temple, there was a subtle gasp and hush of voices in the Conference Center. The stake centers and homes in Italy were filled with much more than a rush of talking.

“I can tell you, in our stake center,” Vincenzo said with bursting enthusiasm, “everybody was jumping, and crying, smiling, hugging…we saw our stake president (currently Elder Massimo De Feo, of the Seventy) jumping and smiling and crying because of the announcement of the temple.”

Vincenzo Modugno settled back into his casual stance on his living room couch, and then with passion starting to surface in his words, he said: “It was a big, big emotion. A great emotion that I remember well.”

The Stake President, Dini Ciacci, has had many Italian members ask him when the temple will be finished. His response to them is this:

“Go to the Swiss temple as much as [you] can so that whenever the Rome temple is dedicated, [you] can be sure that [you] are ready for it.”

As much as Dini Ciacci would like to say that the biggest struggle among the members has been the impatience for the temple to be completed, there has been a much bigger challenge for the members of Italy.

“For sure, we have seen the adversary working on couples and families. That’s the biggest challenge that I have seen,” President Dini Ciacci solemnly stated.

Fortunately, some were warned before the temple even started being built. Dini Ciacci was told by fellow church leaders: “This is the last stretch for Satan. He is going to try all he can to prevent people from being ready for that temple.”

Unfortunately, Dini Ciacci admits that he has witnessed Satan’s work on the members. President Dini Ciacci said:

Being a member, right now in Italy, means having a strong faith or you won’t make it.

After hearing this statement, President Pacini, sitting in front of his dining-room window, overlooking the glowing Salt Lake City night, was quick to remind others:

“This is no different for those members [in Italy] and for members in Denver or anyplace else. But the Italians are fighting a lot more of Satan’s host, ‘cause he doesn’t want this [temple] to succeed…It’s normal to expect it, and you just go forward in faith.”

Conversions

Arial view of the Rome Italy Temple construction
The Mormon Rome temple in the middle of construction.

Despite this challenge among Italian members, there has also been a strong spiritual influence on non-members because of the temple. There are many non-member construction workers at the temple site, as well as missionaries at the temple site that help with translation and such.

One specific senior construction worker asked the missionaries to teach him about the Mormon church. During the process of learning about the church, this construction worker received a testimony of the principles he was being taught and decided to be baptized into the LDS church.

President Pacini remembers hearing about that same senior construction worker. His conversion was so upsetting to the construction company that they transferred him. They didn’t want it to become an example that the other workers would want to follow. The result: Another conversion.

“Not too long ago, someone else joined the Church because of that [construction worker’s example].” Pacini said

For other members of the Church, it has been a blessing to observe the General Authorities of the LDS Church when they come to visit the temple site.

For Stake President Dini Ciacci, personally, it has been a blessing to tour the temple with the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and other General Authorities.

“I’m always amazed when I see them, and the devotion they have for the house of the Lord. Even [a temple] that has not been completed yet….they truly regard it as the House of the Lord.”

In October, President Henry B. Eyring joined together with the Pope and other religious leaders for a conference on marriage and family at the Vatican.

That Sunday afternoon, President Dini Ciacci, his wife, and other leaders were invited to tour the temple with President Eyring.

President Dini Ciacci was at a loss for words when it came to describing the experience. “Here we [had] an apostle of the Lord, in the House of the Lord. It was a very spiritual experience. Now I can truly say, that we are lead by true apostles and that the Lord leads his Church through them.”

The temple even spurred a photo essay of Italian members in the Italian National Geographic.

The Temple Mural

Fast Facts

Artist: Leon Parson

Decision process: The First Presidency hand-picks the artist

Average cost of mural includes: linen, paint, brushes/tools, studio space, and travel

Started painting: May 2013

Deadline: May 2015

Applying to Paint the Mural

The Rexburg, Idaho temple at Sunset
The Rexburg, Idaho Temple–one of the several temples that Leon Parson has painted a mural for.

“Painting murals for a temple is a competition.” Leon Parson, the artist of the Rome Temple mural says.

Parson is a North American wildlife artist, a professor at BYU-Idaho and has been selected to paint murals that adorn the walls of several temples including the Rexburg, Twin Falls Idaho, and Calgary Alberta Temples.

The process of applying for the opportunity to be an artist for a temple mural is very specific and tedious. Each artist designs and paints a mock-up, or a scaled version of what their mural would look like if they were to be given the assignment.

Along with the mock-up, each artist is to estimate a financial bid for all of the expenses from the cost of linen canvas, paint, supplies, to the cost of travel (if necessary). The mock-ups and financial estimates are then sent to the Temple Department in Salt Lake City, UT.

Each artist’s work is reviewed by a Temple Art Committee. Then, after selecting the artist, they send his work to the Presiding Bishopric and to the member of the Quorum of the Seventy who has responsibility over the temples.

If they approve, then the artist’s work will go to the First Presidency who make the final decision to assign the mural to that particular artist.

The Design

Alberta, Canada temple mural painted by Leon Parson
Above is part of the installed mural that Leon Parson did for the Calgary Alberta Temple

While working on the mock-up of his mural, Parson realized that he was provided with a few big blessings: Nadine Haderlie, Terry Madsen, Denis Modugno, and Elder Kent Allen.

Nadine Haderlie is a returned missionary from Italy who loves Italy and the Gospel very deeply. She connected Brother Parson to Terry Madsen, who also served in Italy the same time as Sister Haderlie.

Madsen, a student in Parson’s class over thirty-two years ago, as well as an accomplished photographer, had taken six previous trips to Italy. “Her photo images [of Italy] were extremely helpful in getting the assignment.” Parson said.

Denis Modugno, a native Italian from Rome (and the son of Vincenzo Modugno), was also a student in Parson’s class the semester before he proposed to do the mural. Parson approached Denis and asked for his feedback on the best way to depict Italy in a single mural.

In the middle of designing the mural, and not having much success, Denis said,

You know Bro Parson, Italy is 80% sea coast.  [People] sometimes go to the mountains for vacations, but most of the time it is to the sea.

Parson quickly changed the design from the Italian Alps to the seacoast, which seemed to have been the deciding factor between him and his other competitors.

The final big blessing was Elder Kent Allen, a returned missionary who had served in Italy. He was able to assist Parson on a trip to Italy, where they would be hosted by Vincenzo Modugno.

“[Vincenzo] set up an action-packed, fantastic tour of Italy. [We went] from a wildlife preserve to photograph Roe deer, to a private boat journey off the seacoast near Naples. We came home with approximately 3,500 photos in the 5 days there. It was marvelous.” Parson stated with unmasked enthusiasm.

Parson is 85% finished with the temple mural and expects to be finished in April 2015. While he does not plan on attending the open house, Parson looks forward to flying to Rome to supervise the installation of the mural.

Current Temple Work in Italy

Fast Facts

Closest temple to Italy: Bern, Switzerland temple

Furthest distance Italians travel: 1,139 miles

(This is almost as much as traveling halfway across the United States)

Italian attendance since: September 1955

 

Bern Switzerland Temple
The Switzerland Temple and current district temple for Italian members.

“For years, the members in Italy were waiting for the temple.,” Vincenzo Modugno says. The closest temple for most Italians is the Bern, Switzerland temple.

For most Romans, that is a ten-hour drive, but for many coming from the south, the journey can take more than twenty-four hours. The boat trip, alone, from Sardinia to Italy can take thirteen hours. Despite the distance, many Italian members make time to attend the temple regularly.

“I was told that [almost] 90% of the [temple] work done inside the Switzerland temple is [done by] Italian members.” Modugno says.

Although we are not certain of this statistic, it certainly expresses the sacrifices that Italian members make in order to help with the work of the Lord.

“The feelings they have to serve in the temple, and…for a temple [to be built] are so strong. The feelings [are] so strong.” Modugno says.

The Rome temple district may include those from nearby countries such as North Africa, Greece, the Middle East, Albania, the Balkans, and many others. The Rome Temple districts have yet to be officially announced.

“The saints in Sicily are still going to have to travel a day to get to Rome,” Pacini stated bluntly, then quickly ended on a positive note: “At least it’s not two.”

This temple is not just an advantage to the Italian members, but to many from nearby countries and islands.

The Reaction of Non-Members Towards the Temple

Italian newspaper about the Rome temple
An Italian news article about the announcement of the first Mormon Rome temple as well as clarifying some of the LDS values.

“At the beginning, they were very frustrated about it.” Vincenzo Modugno said. Non-members living in the area of the temple tried to stop the project at first.

“They made some declaration to the mayor or some demonstration [expressing] that they didn’t want the temple in that area.” Modugno said.

Many were afraid of the overpopulation of tourists and members visiting the temple. Now that non-members have a better understanding of the project, the objections have calmed down completely.

Vincenzo Modugno, personally, has never had anyone say anything rude to him regarding his religion or the temple. “I think that non-members are curious about [the temple] and stake presidents are working to [inform] them about it,” Modugno explained.

Another conflict that has been suggested by other articles is that of religious interference.

“Of course there are doctrinal differences between us and other churches. It’s no different with the Catholic church,” says President Dini Ciacci. “We share a lot of common beliefs, but we also…see some things in a different way.”

From the very beginning, the Catholic church has been very open and supportive of the LDS church building the temple. As an act of courtesy, the temple project was presented officially to the Catholic church to fully inform them, “as neighbors do with neighbors” Dini Ciacci said with a smile.

“There has never been, that we know of, any kind of uneasiness or them not being happy with what we were doing…we cooperate.”

Pacini agrees that there was never an issue between the Catholic church and the Mormon church. The building of the temple never posed a problem for ecumenism.

“The Catholic church has never had any problems with [the temple].”  Pacini said, matter-of-factly.

As many may already know, the Catholic church in Italy runs a lot of shelters and soup kitchens. A few months ago, the main soup kitchen in Rome needed some remodeling.

One Saturday morning, forty members from the Rome stakes gathered together to take down, paint, and clean the entire serving area. They also donated new tables, chairs, and replaced the old furniture.

“There is not a tag that says that [those things] came from [the Mormon church], we did not publish it anywhere…we were happy to help [the Catholic church’s service project] and the people,” President Dini Ciacci said, “If we can cooperate, we will do it. We will still believe what we believe.”

When Will the Temple Be Finished?

A mockup of the Rome temple
Hopefully, we are approaching the temples completion date

President Alessandro Dini Ciacci, currently the Stake President of the Rome West Stake is fully aware of the delay of the temple being finished. “Of course there have been some delays,” stated Dini Ciacci in a private interview.

It was announced in a promotional video by the church, that the temple was expected to be completed by 2014. Now in 2017, the Rome temple is still not finished and has experienced some contract issues. However, work is currently underway and back to normal again.

“We can see the finish line, but we don’t know how long it will take to get to the finish line yet,” President Dini Ciacci says.

The temple is estimated to be completed in mid-2018, although no official dates have been announced. Usually six months before the opening of the temple, the date will be announced publicly through the Church’s official channels.

What are your thoughts on all of these events following the building of the Rome temple? Do you have any stories to add? We would love to hear about them in the comment section below.

Nicole is a Technical Writer from BYU-Idaho, working as a content writer for LDS.net. A California girl married to a native Italian, Nicole has become quite cultured in the last few years. She has hiked to the top of Half Dome once, traveled to Italy and Switzerland twice, loves to run, and believes in the power of lavender-salt baths and yoga.
  • John Abner

    It is interesting to not find comments from missionaries that were in Italy when the Italian Mission was organized on August 2,m 1966. Back then we served in cities thru out Italy and we were the only members of the church.

  • Jack Brockbank

    I just happened onto this site this morning and it brought on a flood of memories. I served my mission in France from 1948 to 1950. I have many fond memories of Pres. & Sr. James L. Barker. I also had the privilege of meeting Br. Archibald Bennett from the Genealogy Dept. who was mentioned in that great endeavor with the Barkers in the Piedmont Valley. It was interesting to see the connection of the artist of the Rome Temple Mural, Br. Leon Parson, and the Barkers.
    Three other elders and I were asked by Pres. Barker to accompany Br. & Sr. Liardet from Lausanne, Switzerland to go down to Rome, and at Bologna, Italy, we were to make contact with Dr. Fabio Cagli and his family. We were there on December29, 1948 and were told that, at the time, they were the only members of the church in Italy. They had a 2 year-old son, Jacob, and a month-old baby Christiane. We blessed the sacrament, gave the baby a name and blessing, bore testimonies with them, sang Chistmas carols, and had a memorable visit.
    That whole trip was one of the highlights of my mission. I did happen to see Br. Liardet in the Los Angeles Temple years later and he pointed out the frame he had made for that huge beautiful painting there at the head of the staircase.
    It is now a great blessing to have a grandson, Elder Caden Brockbank, serving in the Italy Milan Mission, and see the growth of the church from that family in Bologna, to over 25,000 in that period of time.
    Thanks again for the very good article and thanks for all the commenters.

  • Rosemary Fukutomi

    Nicole, Your article was inspired for sure. I read a biography years ago about Karl Maeser and was very moved about his life. My mother is German. My father is Sicilian. My grandparents were born in Germany and Sicily in the 1800’s. I am a convert..joined the church in California. My husband was not a member at first. After 10 years of waiting for a promise during a priesthood blessing, my husband was still not a member so in desperation I wrote a letter to President Benson. He sent me a letter back and sent my husband his book and told him to read the Book of Mormon. Needless to say President Benson has a special place in my heart. My husband joined the church but died of cancer before we could be sealed in the temple. A year after his death me and 4 of my kids were sealed to him in the Los Angeles Temple. So you see how your article touched my heart. I was an
    Italian and German American Roman Catholic girl before I was taught the gospel. I have always wanted to go to Italy and now even more to go to the temple there and see the visitors center and the statues of the apostles. Thank you for your beautiful and inspired article.
    OS Angeles Temple

  • LaRon Woolley

    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Isn’t that old saying? Well, that’s what we did. In April 2014, my sister, my wife and I – all in our mid-to-late seventies – were in Rome for a couple of days post-Mediterranean cruise. Of all the things we could have done, places we could have gone, number one on our wish list was to visit the Rome temple site. At the Rome International Airport arrivals area we saw an information office. I had written the Via di Settibagni address on a slip of paper and handed it to one of the attendants. She said, “Just a moment,” and began typing on her keyboard. She then wrote on my paper a couple of numbers, explaining that the first was the number of the public transit bus we would take from the central bus station in downtown Rome, the second the bus we would transfer to at a particular stop. We were amazed at how easy it was. The bus stopped exactly in front of the temple. Of course, there was a high barrier the construction people had built around the site, so we could only see the temple spires from across the street. However, I noticed at one point near the wall, what looked like an old porch, even a mailbox, that had perhaps belonged to the farmhouse that originally sat on the site – as described in this article. I was able to pull myself up to where I could peer over the wall and view the temple. Even some of the exterior granite was already in place. It was so exciting. I invited my companions to allow me to push or pull them up, but they declined. They were just thrilled to be standing so close to what will be a magnificent House of the Lord.

  • LaRon Woolley

    How great to read this article! Thanks to all those faithful across the generations who have moved the work forward in Italy.

    In April 2014 my older sister, my wife and I – all in our mid-to-late seventies – were able to spend a couple of days in Rome at the tail end of a three-week trans-Atlantic and Mediterranean cruise. There were so many places we hoped to visit, but so little time. Not having a car, just getting to certain sites would be an immense, time-consuming challenge. A brief excerpt from my personal journal entry: “I was disappointed at not being able to go to the Vatican (St. Peter’s, Cistine Chapel, etc.) [My wife] kept insisting she wasn’t interested. I kept saying, ‘But this isn’t just Catholicism; this is 2000 years of history, art and culture.’ Anyway, …probably wouldn’t have had enough time, and [my companions] would probably have had [physical] trouble covering so much ground.”

    Choices would have to be made. And all three of us agreed we would sacrifice some things to be able to get a glimpse of the temple. But we neither knew where it was located nor how to get to it. We were inside the Rome International Airport terminal and saw an information office. I stepped in and handed to one of the attendants a slip of paper on which I had written the Via di Settibagni address. “Can you help us get to this place?” I asked. She said, “Just a moment,” and began working her computer keyboard. She wrote down on my slip of paper the number of the public transit bus we would take from the central station in downtown Rome, at what point we would transfer and to what number. Finally, where we would get off the bus. With just one transfer we stepped off the bus exactly in front of the temple site. It was so exciting!

    Of course, the construction site was surrounded by a solid barrier. From across the street, we could see the rising spires of the temple. But I wanted to get a better view. I noticed a cement porch, even an old mailbox, perhaps belonging to the farmhouse that originally occupied the property – as mentioned in the article. By pulling myself up on perhaps all that remained of the house, I was high enough to peer over the construction wall and see what was clearly taking the shape of the House of the Lord. Even some of the exterior granite had already been applied. I offered to boost my female companions up onto my vantage point; however, they declined my offer. They (and I) were satisfied – no, thrilled – just to have gotten that close to the (even unfinished) temple, and in such a straightforward, convenient fashion of public transit. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

  • Don Liveley

    My comment comes quite late – one year later since you wrote it. A follow up article would be useful. Officially the Church is saying late 2017 now. The murals are slated to be transported late this year and then installed. My sense is that the temple is about 2 years behind “schedule”.

    Leon Parson is also a descendant of one of Lorenzo Snow’s earliest converts from his times in Italy. That family was not Catholic, but more mainstream Protestant and suffered considerable hostility in those times before immigrating to Italy. So for a descendant of one of Elder Lorenzo Snow converts to paint the mural – awesome.

    I have thought deeply about the implications, but I do sense that next to the SLC Temple, [it will] be the second most important Temple where the earliest Church had its most significant location. In a sense a Mormon’s version of Back to the Future.

  • I just finished reading about the Italy Rome Temple, I feel as part of those Italian Members who have faught against the powers of the opposition. It all began back in 1972 as a 17 year old Teenager when two Missionaries from Utah knocked on my door and gladly accepted their Message, But it wasn’t that easy. when they proposed their challenge to me Which is taken from The Book Of Mormon In the Tenth Chapter Of Moroni Who in speaking to all the inhabitants of the Earth Mostly in verses 3,and 4. and the whole of chapter Ten. It is the chapter that touch my heart more than any other I had read before,as I promised the Missionaries that I would take this challenge and after approximately nine months later I received a manifestation From on High, I did do as the Angel Moroni asked, as I took this personally because I was brought up as a Catholic and being nurtured by my Mother who encouraged me to go to church every Sunday and taught me to be kind and loving to all I really wanted to know if the message was a true message from God. So I did exactly as Angel Moroni asked. He said in Verse 4 “Behold I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, If it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
    Verse 5 ” And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father in the name of Christ, if these things are not true ; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    Verse 5 ” And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
    Like a little child I went on my knees and began to pray and asked God exactly as
    Moroni asked. I asked with a sincere heart, with real intent having faith in Christ, and expecting to receive an answer from God. Approximately 9 Months later one night after giving up to pray as I saw that God was not answering me, I laid my head back in my bed and within moments I experienced an incredible manifestation from the opposition as my tongue was paralyzed as I could not speak, as I saw that I was doomed for destruction and my heart was pounding very fast and seemingly feeling that I had no more breath to grasp I felt I was about to die and I could only think of calling upon God by my Mind and Said ” God Help Me” and the power that had beheld me captive and paralyzed had immediately left my room. and i immediately jumped out of bed and ran to the room across the hall where my sister and mother were sleeping. I noticed that they were sound asleep and that all the noise and commotion that came from my room did not disturb them at all.
    I immediately returned to my bed and was extremely frightened and very scared of what had just happened. as I pulled my pillow up to just stare arround my room in amazement about what had just happened. when all of a sudden I felt this peaceful Love feeling in my chest it was so warm and comforting as if to say have no fear I am with you, and then I heard and felt a voice going through my whole being saying to me ” Peter You must be baptized, The Church is true and the words of the Book Of Mormon are also true.

    Wow I had just experienced the manifestation of The Power of the Holy Ghost and Just experienced a Mighty Change and conviction in my life that God Lives, That Joseph Smith reestablished the Church Of Jesus Christ on the earth with its full Priesthood authority and blessing for all. I am Proud to be Italian, I am great full that I have received the truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. It is available to all who read Moroni 10, and take it to the test and if you are sincere and have real intent to know the truth of all things then you shall receive an answer just like i did. Today at 61 Years old i feel stronger than ever that God Lives and that all of the blessings of his True Church Have been restored with Living Prophets and Apostles on the Earth today.. I have been given the blessing of having a strong and true Testimony that has kept me a believer in this faith and I shall never deny it as I know it is true because the Power of the Holy Ghost Manifested it on to me. I pray In His Holy Name Jesus Christ Amen.

  • Domenica Evans

    I am so excited about the temple! We yelled for joy in my house at the announcement.
    I joined the church in 1973 in northern California. I am full blooded Italian and was so happy when my son Elder Adam Evans served in Rome from 2000-2002. It was a great blessing. I can hardly wait for the temple to be complete. We plan on coming for it.
    Donna(Domenica) Evans

  • B. W. Day (for the Apollonio-Applonie family)

    I have some italian ancestry ( I call my grandfather full-blooded Italian as his father was born in Molise), and feel a connection as we met many wonderful Italian friends and some investigators in my full-time mission in Switzerland. (Switz. is a “neighbor” to Italy).
    Thanks for the detail, as I would love to visit Rome, but may not have the opportunity soon. My family has been involved w/ the PFO and other italian/ family research.
    I hope to read more from you on these subjects.. if we keep planning/ saving.. we’ll get back to Italy eventually! 🙂

  • Detra Borner

    Our son is serving in the Rome Italy mission currently, so it was such a pleasure to read this article. We were hoping the temple would be completed by the time he’d completed his mission and we would make a trip there and bring him home. However, with only 5 months left to serve, we have decided to delay our trip and go back with him when it is completed. So much of this information was new and so interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  • Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes
    and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never
    manage to get anything done.

  • Scott Sanderson

    Nicole,
    Ammonini! I served from 1970 to 1972. The Great Italian Mission – first assignment was Palermo – road the train from Catania to Palermo. I then was transferred to Milano and Torino before the mission was divided. I have treasured the time I spent in Italy and the people there. The branches were small, humble but growing. The message, when listened to about the restoration of the Gospel was life changing. I believe your father may have been there – but so much time has passed it is hard to remember all of the names. I took all of may family to Italy in 2007 and they enjoyed it as much as I did. The country is beautiful, the food outstanding and the people were wonderful to them. I too was full of joy, to see the progress of the members of Italy and to now have a temple in Rome! There is no question in my mind that the hand of God has blessed Italy for its accepting us a missionaries from the beginning and allowing us to find those ready for the gospel. With a temple dedicated there, the blessings will even be greater. When done, I am convinced the Lord will walk the halls! Thank you and your father for your dedicated work and for the information – which we hunger for!

  • Paul

    Thank you for your informative article on the history and status on the Temple and Church in Italy. I was originally called to the Milan Mission and was then sent to Bolzano for my first assignment, which became part of the newly created Padova Mission (1975-77). What fond memories and love I have for my time and the choice people in Italy. As a young and possibly naive missionary I remember on many occasions bearing my testimony to the small group of local saints that someday there would be a temple in Italy. Many told me that would never happen and with the promptings of the spirit, I would assure them it would. I would love to return and serve there again someday.

  • Joel Grow

    Nicole,

    Thank you so much for your articles and stories!
    I served in the Italy Rome Mission from 1998-2000 (Pres. Flosi and Pacini) and I remember when Pres. Pacini told us that the land was purchased. We obviously weren’t told what it would be used for but we felt there would be a temple one day on that land. I was one of the first missionaries to stay in the villa on the land and we also stayed there when we had zone conferences. Great times!
    Keep up the good work!

  • Lisa May

    We were just there last month (Sept 2015) and attended one of the wards – local branches. Interesting the 1st counselor in stake presidency spoke and mentioned that it only took 9 months to get a “miraculous” approval – but that they are in the 5th year of having the temple be completed. We drove by it and there’s just a small section in the front spire area that isn’t completed. I don’t know about the inside – but it sure is an amazing sight to see while in Rome. Another interesting thing the counselor mentioned – pleading with the saints – is that hearts needed to be changed and humbled and softened and prayers again lifted to heaven – so that the temple can be completed. Not only is the delay on the construction side, but from the sound of it – the members as well. Let’s all keep them in our prayers so this magnificent structure can be completed.

  • Ananda Maciel

    Thank you so much, sister Nicole Modugno, I really loved this article!

    I’m from Brazil. Since I was a kid, I really felt in my heart a great love for Italy, but I never knew the reason, because my family has no italian ancestors. When I was ten years old, the missonaries from the church came to my home, and my mom accepted to be baptized, so did I.
    In 2008, when president Monson announced about the Rome temple, I felt a big impression in my heart that I needed to prepare myself and help with that great work. I was studying italian language, and I promised to myself once more that I would be better to learn italian, so that may be I could see the Rome temple one day.
    In 2011, I got my mission call to serve in Italy Milan Mission, and I was the first brasilian missionary to serve there. I have my heart full of gratitude to the Lord, because my time as a missionary in Italy changed my life forever! I really came to know my Savior better and how to strenght my faith in the atonement. I’m really greateful for my mission president and his wife (David and Sue Wolfgramm), because they had teach us how to live according to the Lord’s will and how to expend our time to build His Kingdom.
    I really love Italy and the people that I knew there. They will be in my heart forever!

    Thank you so much in sharing this beautiful message with us! I will continue to pray for the Temple Rome and the growth of the church in Italy. (I’m sorry for my english… I’m still learning the language… hope you can understand me.)

  • leon Parson

    Hi Nicole,

    By way of an up-date: the mural, I deeply hope, will be finished December 2015. From the first time I felt moved toward preparing to work on the Rome mural in April 2010 until now has been a very long 5 years.

    The mural at this point is now full 90% finished.

    Our dear friend Cecilia Panebianco in Rome, continues to do photo research there and email me images that I need to fill in the otherwise blank areas in the mural. She has been so extremely helpful. The Saints on both sides of the veil are being blessed by her efforts, which she does so humbly and with a willing heart. What an angel!!!

    I think that I should mention the PFO, Piedmont Family Organization. They are descendants of the original 40 plus converts from the time that Elder Snow, Stenthouse, and Torino began missionary work there in 1850. To date they have helped perform over 47,000 temple ordinance for their Italian ancestors.

    It is also worthy to note that James Louis Barker, a son of Magarete Stallé (Barker) from the Piedmont Valley, is responsible for the beginning of that temple work. (Margarete immigrated to Salt Lake City as a 5 year-old with her family after receiving answers to their prayers and joined the Church.) In 1948 while serving as mission President in France, President Barker, and his wife went across the Alps into the Piedmont Valley and began fellowshipping the Parish Priests of 13 different parishes. That effort opened the door for the following year, when he, his wife, and a representative from the Salt Lake Genealogy Department, Archibald F Bennett, drove over the mountains and in a two-week window secured over 85,000 pages of parish records on microfilm. The entire process was deeply accompanied by many miraculous and near impossible feats to accomplish. Those 85,000 pages have been the beginning of the PFO temple work and what is now being used to index and extract names being prepared for temple ordinances.

    Margarete Stallé Barker is my Great Grandmother.

    Thank you for continuing to be involved in this eternally important work.

    Sincerely, leon Parson

  • Jeff G

    Nicole, fantastic article! The detail made me ever more excited about this temple. By the way, where did you find the transcript of President Snow’s “O, Italy” prayer/poem for Italy? I’d love to read the whole thing.

  • You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you
    write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers
    like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.

    All the time go after your heart.

  • Wonderful and well researched article! Such a small world within the LDS community. Your dad, Jim, and I grew up in the Central Valley in Visalia Stake.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Laurie,

      Thank you for your compliment and comment 🙂 Hopefully my father wasn’t too cocky when you knew him growing up, haha. It is a very small world in the LDS community, and I’ve found that it’s even smaller in foreign countries.

      Thank you for sharing my article on Facebook. It means so much to me that we can spread this article so quickly and vastly with just a click of a button and the willingness to read (a dying habit nowadays). Perhaps I will get the chance to meet you, one day, in this small world 🙂

      -Nicole Modugno

  • Roberta

    My grandparents came from Castel Di Sangro when they were each 15 years old. I had the opportunity to travel to Italy on a college trip in 1988. I was able to go see my grandfather’s relatives. 20 years later 2009 I was able to travel back to Italy with my husband, mother and youngest sister. We traveled to Castel Di Sangro so mom could meet her cousins that she had never known about. All of them were in their 60’s at the time. While in Rome we saw many of the sights including the area where the temple is now. We were hoping to come over for the open house but have decided to wait until it is open and come do some work for my ancestors that are still waiting. I am looking forward to coming back.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Roberta,

      What an amazing story. I understand how difficult it can be to do genealogy work from a different country. My husband has to have rolls of film shipped over to the United States just so he can scroll through documents and find his ancestors in Italy.
      That is so inspiring that your mother was finally able to meet her cousins! That must have been such an emotional moment for her!
      My husband has a similar story, but he met his cousins for the first time here in America. They have become so close over the past couple years, almost as if they’ve known one another their whole lives.
      Genealogy work is such a blessing 🙂
      I do pray that you will be able to return to Italy, not just for the temple, but to visit your extended relatives as well. Thank you so much for your comment and sharing such a personal account with us on LDS.net. We look forward to hearing from you again.

      – Nicole Modugno

  • Donna Pacini Yates

    What a great article. Thank you for writing it. My grandfather was born and raised in a little paese outside of Lucca in the Tuscany region. I am a convert and joined the Church in high school in 1980. I had the privilege of serving in the Italy Catania Mission from 1984-1986. I literally yelped out loud when the temple was announced in 2008! I need to find former President Pacini and see if we are related. It might help me get more family history work done. My husband and I have been reading scriptures in English and Italian in hopes that one day we can go to the temple in Italy. So grateful for the Lord’s blessings in providing a temple for the faithful and loving Italian saints. Forza Italia!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Donna Pacini Yates,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for commenting and sharing your personal relation to Italy. President Pacini is in Utah right now. He can be found on Facebook if you would like to reach out to him.
      Reading the scriptures in Italian has helped me so much in learning the language! Even just to improve my pronunciation when singing Italian hymns during church. I’ve learned that if you put aside a monthly savings towards something, it is totally possible. If there is a will, there is a way.
      I hope that everyone gets the chance to go to the temple as well!

      Thank you for your comment on LDS.net and I wish you well in your endeavors 🙂
      – Nicole Modugno

  • Thank you for your article! I learned so much about this incredible process of bringing a temple to Rome. I love the story of the missionaries praying near the olive trees. thank you for your research and thoughtful writing. Keep up the great work!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Heather,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I appreciate it so much and I’m so glad that my hard work could help you learn more about this amazing temple.
      Please continue to share it with those around you 🙂
      Thank you for following us on LDS.net
      -Nicole Modugno

  • Lorenzo Enrico Semadeni

    Sister Semadeni and I are Church Service Missionaries at the Church History Library Department Headquarters in Salt Lake City. This mission is to gather, acquire and document the history of the Church in Italy from 1850 to present, and is known as ” The Italian Project”.
    Both my Father, Aldberto Lorenzo Matto, and Mother Margarita immigrated to America from the small village of Poschiavo on the Swiss / Italian border. I joined the LDS Church during my teens, served in the Northwestern States mission, and on Temple Square. Both of us served in the Rochester New York Mission, later in the Exhibit’s Division of the Missionary Department, and now in our current assignment. We love Italy and this assignment.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Lorenzo Enrico Semadeni,
      How enlightening it must be to have the opportunity to work on “The Italian Project.” I am sure investigators and visiting members of the Rome temple will thoroughly enjoy learning about this history someday, perhaps in the Rome visitors center 🙂

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your personal relation to the Italian history. We look forward to hearing from you again on LDS.net

      -Nicole Modugno

  • I joined the church in Firenze in 1977 and then served a mission in Milan 81-83. Terry Madsen was my companion and we had a wonderful time together. My husband also served in Padova-Milan from 81-83. At the announcing of the Temple I couldn’t contain myself from the emotion, especially having had my son just return from his mission in Rome and share all his experiences he had on the sacred temple ground. I feel really humble for the opportunity that I have to live in these last days and see the vision of Peter and Paul come alive in front of our eyes. I’m grateful to all the Italian saints that strive to live the gospel in such challenging times and hope and pray that soon we will
    be able to join them and serve on the sacred grounds of the temple (even in the laundry facility or the cleaning crews). Our daughter just got back from her mission in Santiago Chile and we will be glad to serve wherever the Lord wants us to go. Thank you for the article and all those that are working toward the realization of this, the Lord’s project. Con tutto il nostro amore e rispetto.

    • Nicole Modugno

      “Rometta Dotti Lofgreen,
      Grazie mille per il tuo commento! (Scrivo in Italiano per la practica. Mi dispiace se la mia risposta non `e chiara).
      Che una benedizione per te per sposare qualcuno che ha familiarità con la cultura italiana, e poi guardare i vostri bambini seguire il vostro esempio! Io prego che riceve la possibilita’ di servire al nuovo tempio 🙂
      Congratulazioni a tua figlia di ritorno dalla sua missione, e auguri per il tuo futuro 🙂

      Grazie mille per il vostro complimento e per leggere LDS.net
      – Nicole Modugno

    • Suzanne Shippen

      Ciao Sorella!
      Do you remember me…Sorella Ostler? I served in your mission with you! I remember Elder Tuttle coming and telling us that one day there would be a temple there, and that the adversary was trying awfully hard to prevent it. It’s so wonderful to see it finally coming to pass! There was only one stake in all of Italy… Now there are 10?!? So wonderful!!!

  • Mike

    I served in Rome from 2003-2005. I was transferred to Rome on the weekend when Elder Nelson came to organize the first Stake. I had the incredible blessing of living on that land. I have fond memories of sitting atop the roof of the villetta and overlooking the olive trees and out to the city beyond knowing that we sat where the temple would one day stand. For many of us that land was sacred long before they broke ground for the temple. Can’t wait for the temple to be complete. Shame they had to take down the pizza oven.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Mike,
      Thank you for that beautiful comment 🙂
      What a wonderful image of overlooking the temple land, before it was used for the temple, and knowing it’s potential.
      Hahaha, it is a shame they had to take down the pizza oven. My husband told me they would commonly hold pizza parties for the youth and missionaries there.
      If you are ever in Orem, UT you should go to a restaurant called “Terra Mia”. The owner is an acquaintance of my husband, and they make legitimate Napoli pizza. There is also a restaurant called “Settebello” in Salt Lake City that I’ve heard is even better.

      • Mike Thayer

        Nicole, I’m from Provo (live in Australia currently) and you are right about both Settebello and Terra Mia. Both great places to grab a good pizza Napoli style. I served in both Fuorigrotta and Napoli Centrale. There are plenty of things I don’t miss about Napoli, but the pizza is life changing.

  • Terry Madsen

    Nicole as I became involved early on in the mural project I asked Leon what possible connection he could have with Italy as I supposed that perhaps Italian artists had also been approached to submit proposals…that is when he told me about his family history and how his Great-great-great grandparents were Waldesians in the Piemonte Valley where they joined the Church and he is related to the Cardon family that emigrated to Salt Lake City with the first wave of Italian converts. As he shared with me his family history I agreed that he indeed has enough Italian blood in him to be very worthy of working on this project. One of his paintings that can be found on his website is titled “Prairie Angels” and depicts these pioneer ancestors as young girls crossing the plains. It has been a blessing to me to be personally involved in this special way with the building of the Rome Temple and I WILL be there for the open house and dedication!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Terry Madsen,
      Thank you so much for your comment, and for sharing that additional information about Leon Parson’s background.
      I have seen that painting “Prairie Angels” on the wall of his home before. It is magnificent!
      I am so happy you will be able to make it to the open house!

      Thank you for following us on LDS.net 🙂
      -Nicole Modugno

  • Dave Biasi

    I was called the the Rome Mission in 1975, but was transferred up north for the remainder of my mission. I returned to visit the Rome Temple site in Nov of 2013 from on of my genealogy research trips to northern Italy.
    I stayed at the home Dan Sturer a close friend and a member of the Rome mission presidency and l walked to the temple site a mile away.
    We later drove by the temple, Dan Stuer told me that the temple will not have any walls on front that faces the beltway. I had a large rush of emotions as we drove by and the temple comes into view around a curve.
    I could not help but have lasting memories of the days of being a 19 year old first ariving in Rome for my mission, and not seeing the fruits of my hard labor in the land of my ancestors. The Rome Temple will a light to all of Europe!

    • John M. Gordon

      David what an incredible experience for you to be able to hold on to through the eternities. To have served in Italy and have seen the fruits of your labors. There are not many missionaries that blessing.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Dave Biasi,
      I agree with John Gordon, what a blessing it is to return to the land of your mission and see the changes that have come about. Good for you for making an effort to return. I hope you may be able to return again when the temple opens 🙂 Temple sessions are so different when experiencing them with a group of people that have had to travel so far to do the work. There’s a different spirit and sense of gratitude throughout the people.
      I am not saying it’s better than any other session I’ve been to. Just different.

      Thank you for your comment and for following us on LDS.net 🙂
      -Nicole Modugno

  • Matthew Thornton

    Ms. Modungo;
    I served a mission in the Italy Milan Mission from 1974-76. I remember a Vincenzo Modungo there at that time. Am I correct.

    Thanking you in advance for your response.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Matthew Thornton,
      Yes, you are correct. Vincenzo Modugno did live up north before moving down to Rome 🙂 They enjoyed their time up north, but were required to move because of his job.

  • Rolf C.Bitsch

    I served my mission in Italy from 1970 to 1972. At the time it was the great Italian Mission. In 1971 it was split into the Italian North and Italian South mission. I finished up in the south. It was a glorious time! I served in Milano, Verona, Napoli, Palermo and Brindisi. My wife and family are planning a trip to the Temple open House. Really looking forward to that! My mom is Italian and so it was a great privilege to serve in her Home country!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Rolf C. Bitsch,
      What a blessing it must have been to serve in the land of your forefathers! You certainly did serve all over Italy. You must be skilled in a few different dialects of the Italian language!
      Thank you for your comment, and for your dedication as a missionary. I am sure that you helped leave a positive impact on the Italian people
      – Nicole Modugno

  • Ammon

    Thank you for this great article. I served in the Catania Mission (now part of the Rome Mission) in the late ’80s. I have returned many times and plan to be there in a couple of weeks. I have witnessed during my mission and since the faithfulness of so many Italian members in visiting the temple in Switzerland. I plan to attend the dedication (along, evidently, with about half of the church members worldwide…). The temple makes me emotional to think about and I cannot wait to see it dedicated and shining on the hill.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Ammon,
      Thank you so much for your touching comment 🙂 My husband and I also hope to be able to attend the dedication or at least the opening of the temple. It will certainly be a wonderfully eventful and crowded day.
      Thank you, again, for following us on LDS.net!
      – Nicole

  • Stacy

    I returned from my mission to Milan in 2004, and I am overjoyed to read this! Unfortunately most of the people I saw baptized fell inactive rather quickly, and many of the strong members I knew even began losing their faith, so I have to admit I lost a lot of my hope for the Italian saints I’d come to love so dearly. I’m not surprised to hear that those who are members today must be incredibly strong in the faith. It’s wonderful to hear how much merely the announcement of a temple has helped the work progress. I hope those I taught will think back on those discussions as temple publicity continues.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Stacy,
      Both of my sister-in-laws served in Milan as well!
      I agree, being a member in Italy does require strong self-discipline. I have been to church with my husband many times in Italy, and it is very sad to hear about all of the friends that he had in the church that fell away from the gospel.
      That being said, the active Italian members have a testimony of the gospel far beyond anyone I have ever met. Their testimonies inspire me to be a better member, and to not only preach and live by the standards, but to truly express my faith–as the Italian members do–in almost everyday conversations.
      They are such diligent, strong members.
      Thank you for your comment on LDS.net 🙂
      -Nicole Modugno

  • Shane

    I remember going to see the Temple Grounds before the groundbreaking. I then remember the very first construction worker to be baptized – I interviewed him for baptism. I remember leaving Italy and the Temple was built just higher than the surrounding fence.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Shane,
      Thank you so much for your comment! I am sure your work made a difference in so many lives as the temple was being built. That is so cool that you were the one to interview that construction worker! I hope you get the opportunity to return to Rome for the open house of the new temple 🙂
      – Nicole Modugno

  • Russell Bateman

    I served in the French Mission (now France Paris Mission) concurrently with Vincenzo Modugno. Our mission president foresaw that he would be a leader in the Church. He even assigned him as companion to Carlos Aguerro, from Mendoza, who would be a member of a quorum of the Seventy with the instruction that they both master English.

    A special and wonderful article to say the least.

    Thank you.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Russell Bateman,
      What a small world it is, especially in the church! What a privileged it must have been to serve alongside Vincenzo 🙂 I can promise you, he will be thrilled to see your comment. (As his daughter-in-law, I can attest that he has mastered English quite well and continues to be a patient leader in his ward.) Thank you so much for sharing your comment with us on LDS.net
      – Nicole Modugno

  • Travis

    I was one of those missionaries President Pacini took to that land on the first day in Rome. We all knew immediately that we had been sent to help prepare for a Rome temple there some day.

    • Nicole Modugno

      Travis,
      That is awesome! I can only imagine how spiritual that experience must have been for you! Thank you so much for sharing your personal relation to President Pacini here on LDS.net 🙂
      – Nicole Modugno

  • Gina

    My Father and Mother were each 100% Italian, my father having immigrated here at age 17 in 1919. I joined the Church as a teenager and had the privilege of serving in the land of my forefathers, in the Italy Rome Mission from 1980-81. I couldn’t be more excited and thrilled for my beloved Italians than I am when I think of the prospect of a Temple in Rome!!! Dio vi benedice!!

    • Nicole Modugno

      Gina,
      What a special blessing to be able to serve in the land of your ancestors! You served in Rome just before my husband was born. Thank you so much for your comment and for following us on LDS.net 🙂