italian and international patros of the arts event in the Vatican Museums

June 2014 - On a sun-blessed evening in mid-May, the Italian & International Patrons came together for their annual visit and gathered for an exclusive soirée at the Vatican. Chapter Members and guests attended from Italy and all over the world, including France, Spain, Poland, the United States and as far away as from Argentina and Chile.


The evening commenced with a private visit in the Sistine Chapel, where Drs. Serlupi, Salandri and Cometti illustrated the breathtaking ceiling masterpieces. Following the awe-inspiring moments captured in the renowned chapel of the Apostolic Palace, the guests toured theflourishingVatican gardens and learned about the new multi-sensory project for children and adults with vision and/or hearing impairment.


Invited speakers included the much-respected Professor Alessio Conti, a blind representative who explained the power and importance of our project, Father Mark Haydu and Angelo Trocchia, President of Unilever Italia.


Guests mingled during a sunset reception at Casina Pio IV, the Vatican City Pontifical Academy of Science, where they experienced the ethereal voices of a madrigal choir.


This special occasion and project were made possible by the generous support of Unilever Italia and Patron donations.


> see photos from this event




Visually impaired, blind, deaf blind, deaf, mentally disabled and visually impaired visitors interested in experiencing such a  multi-sensorial journey. People with physical disabilities can also access the flowerbed of Hildegard.


The idea of ​​a multisensory guided tour of the Vatican Gardens arises from the need to respond to a repeatedly expressed desire from blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind individuals asking to benefit from a place so unique and so rich in spirituality.


- To allow people with disabilities to learn and appreciate the most representative buildings, monuments and fountains of the Vatican Gardens through direct tactile exploration and when not possible using specially equipped teaching aids.
- The project also provides the opportunity to analyze and identify not only the botanical or historical point of view, but also the religious symbolism, of the most interesting and the most characteristic species of vegetation in the Gardens. It will offer visitors an experience that will exceed sensory impairment with the intention of stimulating the blind in a place so charming, through vicarious senses,  used as the main interpreters of suggestions that affect them and develop their imaginative skills .


- Application of the tactile map of the Vatican Gardens and teaching cards in Braille and / or large print in black to solicit the mental representation of trees, buildings and statues.
- Use of teaching and communication systems such as:
Languages ​​literary reading passages relating to the hagiographies of the saints and the stories of miracles.
Musical languages​​: listening to Gregorian chants (with the use of I-Pod) composed by Hildegard of Bingen in the vicinity of the flower dedicated to her.


• thermoformed tactile map of the Vatican Gardens with information available in black and Braille.

• Educational and scientific braille cards and large print in black complemented by a review of historical and religious trees, plants and monuments.


• The visit will last about two hours and you could perform on Saturday mornings at 10:00 am or on other days on request.
• For groups of up to 5 people blind with their carers.
• Available languages​​: Visits may also be made in English, French and German.
• Staff involved: 8 SCV educators specialized in this type of tour.
• For disabled individuals and their companions, ticket are free of charge with service guide.
• Upon request, for a fee, the general public can enjoy the same multi-sensorial journey.


Thank you to Father Mark Haydu for helping our group with patience and kindness, seeing our potential and helping us form such a wondderul group while standing by our mission, which is to make the precious art, history and legacy of the Vatican Museums accessibile to all!

Thank you to Sara Savoldello, Carolina Rea, Romina Cometti and all the volunteers in the Patrons office.

Thank you to Don Paolo Nicolini and to Director Antonio Paolucci for their guidance and support and for giving us such a wonderful project to sustain.

Thank you to Isabella Salandri and Maria Serlupi.

Thank you to the President of Unilever Italy Mr, Angelo Trocchia for supporting such a project with passion.

A special thank you to Cristina Poirè, without whom this project could not have come alive.

And thank you to Debora Tramentozzi who showed us years ago that she could see farther and more than we could, and through her we saw and understood what we needed to do with our Group, the Italian & International Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

And thank you finally to Chapter Leaders Amy Gallant Sullivan and Sabrina Zappia and to all our members and guests that have participated in, and supported this project.



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