The Italian Church in Bucharest

The Italian Church "Our Blessed Savior" is a Catholic church, built between 1915-1916 in Bucharest. It was consecrated by bishop Raymond Netzhammer in 1916. The funds were donated by King Victor Emmanuel III, the Vatican, the Italian Embassy and the Italian community in Romania that in 1915 numbered about 7000 people. An Italian journalist of the time launched an appeal to his compatriots: "Italian citizens, rather than cross the ocean to America and you experience surprise that the tycoons will not integrate you and die of hunger, better come in Romania, which is a rich country and has a very welcoming people of Latin origin, as us!"

The church is located on the busiest boulevard in Bucharest, Nicolae Bălcescu, and is owned by the Italian government. Architects were Mario Stoppa and Giuseppe Furaboschi. It was built after the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazzie in Milan, built in old Lombard style. The church in was built in order to recreate the typical atmosphere of Italian churches, with Romanic and Renaissance influences. The church parsonage was built in 1924 and for a time hosted the Italian school. The campanile is 27.75 m high and is equipped with four bells. The apartment buildings surrounding the church were built in the thirties, changing the atmosphere around the church. The earthquakes in 1940, 1977 and 1986 seriously affected the Italian Church, being further consolidated and restaurated.

Photo from here.

The first parish priest, Antonio Mantica, served here by the end of 1949 when he was arrested and forced to leave Romania. The second priest, Clemente Gatti, served until March 1951 when he was also arrested, sentenced to 15 years in prison and deported in April 1952. The church was closed until 1968, when it was reopened during the visit to Romania of the Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani. It remained opened only for occasional services such as Easter, Christmas, Feast of Our Lady, etc.. The church was reopened after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. The Italian church hosts organ concertos, and Baroque music concertos.