Newsroom released a video on Jan. 14 detailing how the land for the Rome Italy Temple was selected. Posted just weeks before the public open house begins on Jan. 28, the video explains the symbolism within the temple and the significance of the building to the Roman community.
According to the video, not only is the interior of the temple a reflection of Italian culture and tradition — with floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows and several oval motifs signifying eternity — but the outdoor piazza was designed to feel familiar to Italians.
“This had to be one that when you walked onto this site, every person should feel like they were on an Italian site," said temple architect Niels Valentiner. "They would recognize it because of the materials, because of the design and because of the surrounding.”
Lining the piazza are 400- to 500-year-old olive trees from Northern Italy. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles notes in the video that “there’s tremendous symbolism in olives and in olive trees. ... Whenever you cut the roots of an olive tree, they’ll sprout. They don’t die; they will continue to sprout. Some have suggested that perhaps that’s symbolic of the hope of the resurrection.”
As one of the most historic cities in the world where biblical Apostles preached of Christ, it's fitting that the Church has also constructed an impressive visitors' center on the temple grounds. The center showcases a Christus statue with some of the ancient apostles circled behind Him with full-length windows as their backdrop. When Elder Bednar saw the statues for the first time, the Apostle explained that "it was just a spiritually stunning moment for me."
According to Newsroom, the Rome Italy Temple will serve 23,000 members in Italy and the surrounding areas, making it the 162nd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world.