Italy - Agnelli Institute celebrates 80 years. Here's its story

10 October 2017

(ANS - Turin) - On July 3, 1938, at the FIAT factory in Mirafiori, the first stone of the "Edoardo Agnelli International Institute" was set. Dedicated to the memory of Edoardo, son of FIAT founder, Giovanni Agnelli, Edoardo died in a plane crash in 1935. Today, 80 years later, the extraordinary presence of Salesians in the heart of Turin's industrial district continues to pulsate in the Institute, which has grown in both its structural size and in the professional training on offer.

After the sudden death of young Edoardo, his father Giovanni, a Senator of the Italian Republic, thought of creating a popular institute named to perpetuate the memory of his son. Speaking with the local Salesians, and after discussing various options – including the idea of opening an agricultural school - they decided to establish an International Institute of Mechanics where young people would be trained, both in view of their possible employment in FIAT'S workshops, and towards disseminating high-level professional training throughout the regions of Italy, and beyond.

The project was entrusted to Arch. Giulio Vallotti, Salesian Coadjutor, already responsible for large-scale architectural work, including the expansion of Valdocco's Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.

With a glimpse to the future and featuring panoramic views over an area of 40,000 square meters, the site would include: a large Oratory with a public church for the Christian education of the children of FIAT workers, a salon-theater, numerous courtyards and playgrounds, and a modern Institute of Electromechanics for the training of Salesian technicians from all over the world.

Work began on July 3, 1938. With Rector Major, Fr Pietro Ricaldone, were all the Provincials of the Chapter as well as the Archbishop of Cuyabà, in Mato Grosso, Brazil, Salesian Mgr. Francesco de Equino Correa. Interrupted by applause several times, the Rector Major recalled the dear figure of Edoardo Agnelli, a lawyer, and spoke of the generosity of Senator Giovanni Agnelli. The Economer Genral, Fr Fedele Giraudi, read the official parchment, which all the authorities then signed.

In October 1940, work was almost completed, including the section currently occupied by the oratory, church and theater. At the end of the construction work, the inauguration took place on the afternoon of 19 April, 1941, when Card. Maurilio Fossati, then Archbishop of Turin, blessed the new church in the presence of Senator Agnelli and his family. Subsequently, the Agnelli family donated an impressive marble sculpture by the sculptor Rubino depicting Don Bosco and his life.


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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