Italy – Don Bosco in the Eternal City. A guide and a video to retrace his steps

29 January 2021

(ANS - Rome) - Both before Italy's unification and after, even when Rome was proclaimed "Capital" of the Kingdom, Don Bosco, a Piedmontese halfway between loyalty to the institutions of the Kingdom and unconditional love for the Pope, visited Rome 20 times for a total of almost 2 years of stay - not a little, considering the conditions of the means of transport of the nineteenth century. On those occasions he had to face the distrust of the ecclesiastical authorities, received the warm welcome of both Pius IX and Leo XIII, and aroused the devout admiration of the Roman people.

Don Bosco is often remembered as the "Turin saint", because it is in Turin that he carried out most of his activities, or as a "Piedmontese saint", referring more widely to his origins and to his human and vocational path. But several particular episodes in his life took place during his numerous travels outside Turin and Piedmont. And among them, undoubtedly, the majority had Rome as their goal: 20.

But why did Don Bosco go to Rome so often?

-       Out of love for the Pope.

-       Out of love for the Eternal City.

-       For the approval of the Rules of the Salesian Society.

-       For the appointments and temporalities of Bishops.

-       To disseminate the Catholic Readings.

-       To find the means for his various works.

In two years of time and in a "restricted" Rome, like the one at the time, he had the opportunity to visit many sites. Many of those locations, unfortunately, no longer exist today as they were demolished in the city's subsequent urban restructuring. But for those who, visiting the Eternal City (or even living there), wondered what sites related to the Saint "of the Young", a guide has been produced that helps to know and find them all, and to discover the circumstances in which Don Bosco went there. The publication is: "Un piemontese a Roma", by Fr Michele Novelli, currently available only in Italian.

To give a certain logical unity to the publication, the places visited by Don Bosco have been divided into three parts, each of which includes the explanation and, above all, the citation of the pages of the "Biographical Memoirs" which refer to each single place. The three parts refer to:

-      Don Bosco's residences in Rome

-      The Saint's most visited and dearest sites

-      Possible Salesian houses in Rome

On the occasion of the restoration of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and Don Bosco's rooms in Rome, in 2011 the Central Italy Circumscription of the Salesians also promoted a video, made by "Missioni Don Bosco" in Turin and available in multiple languages (Italian - English), which follows the same structure.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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