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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Waldensian Temple of Turin

Waldensian Temple of Turin

23, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II – Torino - ITALY

RELIGIONS Protestant


The Tempio Waldesian is located in the San Salvario area, near the Valentino Park and Porta Nuova station. You can visit the temple (Saturday from 15:00 to 18:00) accompanied by volunteers who, in addition to illustrating the building from an architectural point of view, offer information on the Waldensian religion and the community of Turin. The Temple, designed by the architect Luigi Formento in the mid-nineteenth century, is an example of neo-Gothic style on the outside with neo-Renaissance influences inside. This is a fairly unusual building in the urban panorama of Turin. At the center of the façade there is a large rose window, as in the Gothic tradition, and on the sides two very tall octagonal towers surmounted by a pinnacle. The temple plan has three naves with two columns of round arches resting on columns in Corinthian style.
Only the edict of Charles Albert of 1848 allowed the Evangelical Community of Turin, present since the sixteenth century, to come out into the open and grow, aggregating Protestant families from the Waldensian Valleys. Until then the Waldensians, for centuries persecuted because of their religion, had been restricted in the Alpine valleys of Pellice, Chisone and Germanasca. In fact, they did not even have the right to reside in the city and the few present were forced to celebrate their cults in the chapel of the Prussian embassy. After the decision of the Savoy king, the community immediately chose to build a Temple, as a sign of the emancipation, but the first requests of the Waldensians were not taken into consideration by the government. Only at the end of 1850 Vittorio Emanuele II granted the authorization to purchase the land and build the temple in the neighborhood known as the Meridiana, next to Valentino. The works, begun in 1851, ended in 1853.
The Waldensian Church of Turin lives the dialogue with the other faith communities starting from the social relations intertwined on the territory. The recent immigration has added the presence of religious communities other than historical ones, re-proposing the issue of religious freedom, a problem that the Waldensians have well known in their history. For this reason they understand the need to dialogue and to open up to the relationship with those who are struggling to integrate into the cities in which they live. There are many experiences of interreligious meetings, in particular with the Muslim community, with the Orthodox churches, as well as with the Catholic Church and with the Jewish community. Particularly significant for the dialogue between Catholics and Waldensians was the visit of Pope Francis, June 22, 2015: for the first time in eight centuries of history, a Catholic pope has crossed the threshold of a Waldensian temple.
The relations between the Waldensians and the Catholics have been difficult since the beginning, when, at the end of the 12th century, a Lyons merchant called Valdo sold his assets and began to preach the Gospel to his fellow citizens, with the aim of renewing the church. The Catholic hierarchy, however, reacted critically and excommunicated it. When the Protestant Reform arose in Europe, the Waldensians adhered to it, organizing themselves openly into alternative communities to Catholic parishes, with places for worship and the celebration of the sacraments. Persecuted on several occasions by the kings of France, in Piedmont they suffered the often violent repression of the Savoy government, determined to reconquer them to the Catholic faith. For this reason, after heavy clashes, they were forced to limit their influence to the Alpine valleys of the oldest settlement, in about fifteen municipalities, around their most important center, Torre Pellice, giving life to their institutions (schools, temples, hospitals). The Waldensian community is headed by a Synod that takes the most relevant decisions. From 1979 to the Waldenses the Italian Methodists were integrated, another current of Protestantism; they share a strong sensitivity to moral and social issues. Pope Francis, during his historic visit to the Waldensian Temple of Turin, asked for forgiveness for the non-Christian, even non-human attitudes and behavior that Catholics have had towards the Waldenses in history.
Direct visit: with local guides.

Virtual visit: presentation of the religious site through the video-tour

Classroom activity (pre and post the visit):
Artistic itinerary through some information sheets on the history of the Waldensians.
Liturgical itinerary with detailed information on the Lord's Supper.
Activity of verification of the acquired knowledge and skills.



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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.