In 1843, Joseph Toronto (born Giuseppe Taranto) became the first known Italian convert to the Church when he was baptized in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1849, Toronto was among the first missionaries to his homeland when he accompanied Apostle Lorenzo Snow and others in opening the mission. This first mission was short-lived; it was closed in 1867.
In 1910, Vincenzo di Francesca gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon while living in New York City; he continued to live by its precepts after he returned to Italy in 1914, though he did not learn for years where the book came from. The Church was not reestablished in Italy until the 1950s, when a number of Italians learned of the gospel in other countries and returned home to share the message with friends and family. The first Italian-speaking branches were formed in Brescia and Palermo.
In 1966, the Italian Mission was reestablished with headquarters in Rome. Over the last 50 years, the Church has made steady progress. The Italian Saints, like their counterparts in former days, are a people who “live by faith” (Romans 1:17) and are “full of goodness” (Romans 15:14). In 2008, when the Church announced a temple would be built in Rome, there were more than 20,000 members in Italy.
Official Name: Italian Republic/Repubblica Italiana
Largest City: Rome
Official Languages: Italian
Land Area: 294,140 km2 (182,770 mi2)
Church Area: Europe
Missions: 2 (Rome and Milan)
Temples: 1 (Rome)