I received a Catholic education, not because my parents were particularly religious, but because the church was seen as the center of the community, a safe place where kids could make friends. In Rome, the Catholic Church has been predominant for centuries, leaving other religious communities as afterthoughts.
After living in New York City for a few years, I moved back to Rome and noticed a major change. The constant flow of immigrants in the recent past has produced a sea-change in the social landscape. Other religious groups are now thriving around the home of the Catholic Church. The first waves of immigrants settled, started families, and created communities primarily in the suburbs. They brought their religions with them, and now these enclaves have become unofficial welcome centers for thousands of new arrivals, helping them quickly form social bonds and navigate their new home. Similarly to the way the Catholic Church has functioned for Italians in Rome for centuries, a melange of religions is now the glue that holds multiple immigrant communities together -- all in the shadow of the Vatican.
These past years I have been working on this project with the final goal to create a visual map of the new multicultural Rome, emanating from the places of worship in a city where religion plays such a crucial role.