Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens near Porta di Roma.
Europe's largest Mormon temple has opened in the north-east fringe of Rome, just inside the city's ring road, following a decade of construction.
Located near the Porta di Roma shopping mall, the colossal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becomes the first Mormon temple in Italy, the 13th in Europe and the 162nd worldwide.
The building was financed entirely by the Mormons although church elders have declined to reveal the project's cost. It is clear that no expense has been spared on the 3,800-sqm building - whose 48-m high spire is topped by a gold angel with trumpet - which dominates the area's skyline.
Located on a six-hectare site purchased in 1997, the temple contains curved walls, crystal chandeliers, marble statues and stained-glass windows, complete with solar panels and ultra-modern technology.
Elder Ronald Rasband, one of 12 men known as Apostles who govern the Mormons, predicted the Rome building would became "a destination temple for Latter-day Saints around the world."
Describing relations with the Vatican as "friendly in every respect", Rasband said the temple will engage in humanitarian projects, especially towards migrants and refugees, collaborating with local charities such as Caritas and S. Egidio as well as the Italian Red Cross.
Founded in New York in 1830 by Joseph Smith, the church is established in over 170 nations and has 16 million members. In Italy there are 26,000 members, of whom 2,000 reside in Rome.
The three-storey temple will offer free tours from 28 January to 16 February (excluding Sundays) however following its dedication ceremony - spread out over several days in mid-March - will only be open to faithful members.
Reservations to visit the temple can be made online at templeopenhouse.lds.org.