There’s a new educational program at the Vatican that is training young people to excel at a variety of crafts and trades necessary to the maintenance of historic buildings, artworks, and grounds. Students will not only learn valuable skills to last a lifetime, but they will also have the rare opportunity to study a city with storied art and architecture at every turn: Rome.
This week, the Vatican launched a new School of Arts and Trades to train the next generation in important crafts such as masonry, carpentry, plastering, and interior decoration. The inaugural class of 20 international students – 12 young men and 8 young women – took their first class on Monday, January 16, 2023.
The new school was organized by the Fratelli Tutti Foundation in collaboration with the Fabric of St. Peter, the organization responsible for the conservation and maintenance of St. Peter’s Basilica. Students will especially benefit from the expertise of the Fabric of St. Peter’s craftsmen, known as sanpietrini, who will work closely with students. According to Vatican News, the students already have backgrounds in their chosen craft, but the sanpietrini will take them to the next level.
Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, President of the Fabric and Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, told Vatican News that the School of Arts and Trades is on a mission to pass down centuries’ worth of practical know-how to the next generation.
“The School will help us plant a seed in the soil of human promotion, of formation aimed at service to culture, to the women and men of our time and to the Church,” said the cardinal. “Thanks to the centuries-old tradition guarded by the Fabric of Saint Peter, to the professionalism of the sanpietrini and to the scientific contribution of the international academic world, we will try to bring to fruition a truly integral formation, capable of involving the spiritual and anthropological dimensions through the teaching of arts and trades.”
This six-month course is incredibly intensive and will take the class to various locations throughout the Italian peninsula for on-site studies. While learning the manual skills necessary for preservation of historic landmarks, the class will also study art history, which will bring valuable context to their work. Fully immersed in the technical and spiritual details of St. Peter’s Basilica, arguably the most important church in the world, it will be thrilling to see what impressive craftsmen will emerge from this new and important program.