When the idea of building a Mosque in Rome was first suggested, it is said that someone turned to Pope Paul VI to convince him to formally oppose it: there was no “room” in Rome for a Muslim temple. That someone was probably sure the Catholic Pope would side with him, but instead was forced to surrender at his unexpected reaction. Paul VI felt he was the bishop of an open and tolerant city, and was not afraid of dialogue with different churches.
The idea of building a place of worship for followers of Islam in the most important city in Christendom had already been put forth in the second half of the 1960s. Yet it was only in 1984 that the first stone was laid, and not until June 1995 that the temple was inaugurated.
Paolo Portoghesi – the architect who designed the Mosque located at the foot of Monte Antenne, where the Aniene and Tiber rivers meet – used cotto tiles and pink marble extensively in his project. Thus the building maintains the typical colors of Rome and is in harmony with the rest of the city, while also fully respecting Islamic construction rules.
In front of the building, which also houses the headquarters of the Islamic Cultural Centre, a lively market is set up every Friday, where you can enjoy all the colors of the world – as the city of Rome always has.