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February 9, 2011

Amelia, Umbria: Rosa Venerini's Schools and a WWII Tragic Bombing

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

February 9 is the anniversary of the birthday of the 17th century educator who has a school named after her in Amelia. A statue of Rose Venerini on a walkway of a small school in Amelia commemorates the founder of public schools for Italian girls more than 350 years ago. Rose opened forty schools from 1685 to 1728, including one at the foot of the Campidoglio, the smallest and most famous of Rome’s Seven Hills. The motto of the Maestre Pie Venerini is “Educate to save.” Nearby a plaque memorializes the Allied bombing of this school on January 25, 1944, which killed students, teachers, and residents of a nearby house. The Allies missed an ammunitions factor in nearby Terni, and that morning, innocent people died. The bomb also destroyed the church of Santa Elisabetta. Parishioners constructed a new church, Santa Lucia, on the site in 1956.