The birth of Tempio del Donatore
The first ones to dream of the realisation of the Tempio in 1958 were Giovan Battista Cecchella (“Titta”), the first president of AVIS of the municipality of Valdobbiadene (province of Treviso) and Don Vittorio Gomiero, the chaplain of the parish of Valdobbiadene. Their idea was to create a symbol of peace, dedicated to those who freely give blood (and not only), curing the sick and saving lives. And to create it on the slopes of Mount Cesen where, during the First World War (1915-1918), there was an Austro-Hungarian position of cannons that faced the advance of the Italian soldiers who were on Montello and on the opposite Massif of Grappa. It wasn’t a random place: here love and peace substitute blood and hatred that characterised this place during the First World War.
The idea also pleased the mayor of that time, Isidoro Grigoletto, who appointed, as Committee for the realization of the Temple, the Board of Directors of AVIS of Valdobbiadene. The Municipal Administration donated to the Parish the little chapel on which the Temple would be built, to be dedicated to the “Precious Blood of our Lord” and then to the Blood Giver.
A place that witnessed great bloodshed, hatred and death, would then become a symbol of gift, altruism, love for others and life. The project, also wanted by the archpriest Don Angelo Zaramella, was entrusted to the architects Musini and Davanzo of Treviso and began to take life in 1962, followed and shared by the members of the AVIS of Valdobbiadene: Alvise Dall’Armi, Luciano Pasqualetto, Lorenzo Dalla Longa, Ermenegildo Scappinello and Ruggero Baratto. On October 16, 1962, the first stone was laid, blessed by Mons. Alvise Dal Zotto.
The stones of the Piave (the river sacred to the Fatherland, the scene of bloody battles, where a lot of blood of soldiers of both fronts was shed) were chosen for the foundations.
Some elderly people remember that “volunteers went to collect stones in the Piave and brought them to the mountain with oxen”. The place of war and division was about to become a place of brotherhood and peace. Already in 1964 a part of the church, the present sacristy, began to host the first celebrations.
Shortly after the lack of funds forced AVIS, which had all the economic burden, to a strong slowdown of the work, so that Cecchella, who died in 1966, could not see it finished. He was succeeded by Alvise Dall’Armi, who, together with Lorenzo Dalla Longa, the new president of AVIS in Valdobbiadene, involved the other Associations of the Gift of Blood in raising funds. The Temple was thus finally inaugurated 15 years later, on September 16, 1979, by the Bishop of Padua (under whose Diocese falls the territorial competence of Pianezze), Mgr. Girolamo Bortignon. There was a great ceremony and strong participation of blood donors from all over Italy and abroad. There were over 400 donor labari. It was immediately clear that the Temple was destined to become international. The FIODS (International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations) arrived in Pianezze with the full Council, led by Secretary Pierre Pelletier, to enshrine the universality of the Temple, unique in the world.
The associations that participated economically and supported it, over time, were AVIS (Association of Italian voluntary Blood Donors), ABVS (Association of voluntary Blood Donors from Belluno), Aido (Italian Organ Donor Association), FIDAS (Italian Federation of Blood Donor Associations), FRATRES (National Consortium of Blood Donor Groups Fratres delle Misericordie d’Italia) and groups of minor donors from various regions.
Little by little, the whole world of voluntary blood donation of Italy, and not only, was involved, fascinated and close to the Temple also choosing it as a destination for visits, trips, parties and events (also annual festivals, such as the one of the provincial AIDO of Treviso on the third Sunday of July, the provincial AVIS of Treviso on the first Sunday of September…). It reaches an average of 30 thousand visitors per year. At the Tempio, in 1995, the female Giro d’Italia stopped and the twinning between regional AVIS Regionale Veneto and regional AVIS Basilicata was sealed.
In 2000, the arrival at the Temple of pilgrims was majestic for the Jubilee. The Temple was fifty years old in 2012 and even today there are those who, even with thousand difficulties, are dedicated with the same enthusiasm and the same commitment to ensure that this place can remain a point of reference for those who have made the gift a mission, beyond every faith and every acronym.
The Temple was condemned in December 2017 and has been closed ever since, the supporting beam is marked by time, weather, snow and sun. It is necessary to renew a part of the beam and restore the balance of the building. The first restoration works (thanks to a fundraising initiated by the new ODV Tempio) started in July 2020, in the hope of collecting what is necessary to complete and reopen it as soon as possible.