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First look: Elder Bednar, Elder Rasband tour the Rome Italy Temple with journalists and political dignitaries

The Rome Italy Temple is reflected in the window of the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Susan walk from the Rome Italy Temple to the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Rome City officials and other dignitaries follow behind. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News, Deseret News
Volunteers Vanna and Benedicto Parisi look at statues of Christ and the Apostles in the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
President Marcello De Vito, president of the Rome City Council receives shoe covers before touring the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News, Deseret News
Giuliano Falehi trims shrubs outside the gate of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News, Deseret News
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leads a tour during the open house for the Rome Italy Temple on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News, Deseret News
The Rome Italy Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Rome Italy Temple is seen through the window of the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. In the foreground is a statue of Christ. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
The Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured after sunset on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured after sunset on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Statues of Christ and the Apostles are displayed in the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
Statues of Christ and the Apostles are displayed in the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News
Statues of Christ and the Apostles are displayed in the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News

The doors to the Rome Italy Temple were opened on Monday, Jan. 14, to welcome the first wave of visitors and media from around the world. Monday marked the beginning of the public phase of the temple which will be open for nearly four weeks of open-house tours from Jan. 28 through Feb. 16, excluding Sundays.

"I've seen it under construction for two years now, but walking through it today was extraordinary, a very special experience," said Marcello De Vito, president of the Rome City Council in a Deseret News article detailing the event. "It will certainly improve the architecture of our city."

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Ronald A. Rasband, were on site in Rome to lead journalists and political leaders like De Vito through the temple for the first time.

Noting the vast Church membership of 16 million worldwide, Elder Bednar told journalists that is it only a matter of time before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has temples in almost every major city around the world. But he also noted that having a temple in Rome holds special significance for the Church.

Photos showing the exterior and interior of the new temple were posted Monday, Jan. 14, on the Church's websites. View the photos and learn more details about the temple open house here.

The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The interior of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. | Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The temple was announced in 2008 and has been under construction since 2010. The 40,000-square-foot temple stands three-stories tall and is surrounded by a 15-acre piazza with other buildings including a vistors' center displaying copies of the Christus statue and statues of the 12 original Apostles by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Read more about the temple opening and the media tours.

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