Referencing the famous phrase uttered by Cardinal Sarto as he left Venice for the conclave that would eventually make him Pope, ‘I’ll be back, dead or alive’, the body of Saint Pius X indeed returned to Venice in 1959 thanks to the efforts of the then-Cardinal Roncalli, drawing hundreds of thousands of devotees to the lagoon city. The body of Roncalli himself (who later became Pope John XXIII) was brought back to his homeland in May 2018, attracting over half a million believers in 10 days. The Pilgrimage is meant to be the culmination of a path, an unprecedented moment of veneration in his homeland, preceded by important projects in terms of structures and communication. Discover the program of the event in the specific section.
The project, carried out by 593 Studio, for setting up the spaces that will house the body of Pius X, i.e. the cathedral of Treviso and the Sanctuary of Cendrole, as well as the special vehicle that will accompany the Saint on his journey, is the result of a synergy between all actors involved, with the aim of giving pilgrims a unique and special devotional occasion with Pius X.
Following the inspections and tests recently conducted at the birthplace and childhood home of Pius X, some issues of decay and a few hurdles for its conservation came to the surface, mainly: the need to recover all the architectural, constructional and decorative elements present in the building, along with the replacement of elements deemed out of place. The project, managed by Studio Scattola, is awaiting approval by the Superintendency of Venice. The activities to be conducted are the conservation, safeguarding and protection of the building, with a broader outlook of regaining the material value and testimony found in the area, restoring them to the community. In addition, the work to be done includes the repainting and maintenance of the shutters of Casa Maggion, a building owned by the Foundation which holds its headquarters and bookshop, next to the childhood home of Pius X.
As part of the multidisciplinary project to restore the House-Museum of Pius X, the Gatto Tonin Architetti studio will see to the rearrangement and set-up of the display rooms, the reorganization of the routes taken by visitors, and the updating of the operational and administrative spaces of the House-Museum. The upgrades will also involve the rooms of Casa Maggion (sometimes called the caretaker’s house), which will become not only the bookshop, but also the home of the Pope Pius X Archive and spaces for temporary and permanent exhibitions. In terms of the birthplace of Pius X and the Reliquary (Museum), the plan is to reorganize the areas open to the public in order to improve accessibility, redesign displays, and integrate new technological devices that will add value to the displays. The reorganization of the visitor routes in the museum was handled by Disma Srl, with the preparation of introductory panels and display captions. The plan also includes a revision of the narration, rethinking the way items are displayed. New stopping points within the museum will be made, which unite the house and the museum, enhancing the building where Pius X was born. It’s a site that has been conserved intact for its historical value, as a symbol of Pope Sarto’s belonging to a human and cultural fabric, also found in the special character of his pastoral activities at all stages of his ecclesiastical career, from young chaplain to Supreme Pontiff.
At the base of the entire project to promote greater awareness about Pius X, Otium has been entrusted with the creation of a new graphic identity and marketing materials to celebrate this important anniversary. The new identity has been conceived of as a coordinated appearance as much for the 2023 celebrations as for the general communications from and displays within the House-Museum, so as to guarantee sustainability, consistency and recognizability to the many cultural events that the organizers (the city of Riese first of all) have dedicated and will continue to dedicate to Giuseppe Sarto. Online communication will be given special attention, so as to guarantee the spread of the values that underpin the project and to promote the Land of Pius X even to people who still are unfamiliar with the work and legacy of the saint. This website the first communication channel and reference point for such information, launched to accompany the lead-up to the celebrations in October 2023.
The restoration and renovation of the Pius X Museum complex will be the focus of digital storytelling by Wow Textura. The goal is to make museum visits available and accessible virtually, with special attention paid to photo-realistic quality and the addition of content enriched by experiences, such as explanatory texts and multimedia. Through virtual art direction and the construction of immersive content, it will be possible to use this tool for promotion and presentation, simultaneously increasing the visibility of the restoration work, even to those who have not yet visited the Pius X Museum.
The Pilgrimage of the saint’s body will be preceded by a programme of religious and cultural events, which will be planned by the Foundation in coordination with the Diocese of Treviso, the Municipality of Riese Pio X, and other entities, such as the A. Steffani Conservatory in Castelfranco Veneto and the Marca Treviso Consortium, to name just a few.
In addition to providing financial support to the Sarto Foundation for the restoration and renovation of the House-Museum, the city of Riese Pio X is also carrying out other ambitious projects:
– The retrofitting of the Curiotto trail, a path that Sarto took as a boy to reach the Cendrole Sanctuary;
– The creation of the bicycle track from Cendrole to Spineda, which will definitively unite the centre of Riese and the Ezzelini Trail;
– The new street furniture project for the old town of Riese Pio X, which will involve the installation of furniture and the improvement of some urban areas.
Every year, thousands of visitors and pilgrims come to see the house where Pius X was born. But it isn’t the only place in Riese that evokes the memory of Pope Sarto. Here you’ll find a cultural-religious itinerary we recommend to discover the life of Pius X, most of which is spread over a radius of less than a kilometre.Riese Pio X can be reached in just over 30 minutes from Padua, Treviso and Vicenza, and one hour from Venice. Seeing all of the city requires less than half a day, and it can be combined with trips to other wonderful local towns (most notably Castelfranco Veneto and Asolo, which were important places in the life of Pius X, and even Possagno, the birthplace of sculptor Antonio Canova, whose work can be admired in the Plaster Museum. See the ‘Nearby destinations’ chapter).A note for pilgrims: for Eucharistic Celebrations, confessions, and prayers, please contact the Parish of Riese Pio X (tel. +39 0423 483105), which will happily open the parish church, the Cendrole Sanctuary, and the chapel of Saint Pius X at the house where he was born.
Sunday mass is held at: 7:30 – 9:00 – 10:30 – 18:00 (the latter being held at the Cendrole Sanctuary).
The Parish Church of Saint Matthew and the Cendrole Sanctuary are open every day, generally from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 19:00.