Loppiano and Focolare Moviment
Polo Lionello Bonfanti is located close to Loppiano, the international citadel of the Focolare Movement.
Loppiano is the international citadel of the Focolare, stands on 260 hectares of land, on the plateau that extends to the west part of the municipality of Figline and Incisa Valdarno, 20 kilometers from Florence. It counts 900 inhabitants. There are many economic activities in it.
In the 1950s, a first but already large group of people attracted by the spirituality of the Focolare had begun to meet, in the summer, in the Dolomites, in northern Italy. Thus Chiara Lubich, the founder, says: “It was a coexistence of people of all social categories, of all ages, of both sexes, of the most varied vocations, which almost constituted a temporary citadel characterized by the practice of the new commandment of Jesus ‘Love each other as I have loved you’. Admiring the green plain of the valley from a height, I seemed to understand that one day the Lord would have wanted somewhere a citadel similar to the one that was taking place, but permanent “.
Loppiano was born in 1964, the first of the 33 citadels of the Focolare that arose throughout the world with the desire to live permanently the continuous novelty proposed by the Gospel: universal fraternity.
Currently the citadel has about 900 inhabitants and they are men and women, young and old, many families, priests and religious, from 70 nations: an open field in which to experience that unity between people, between groups and peoples is possible. Each year, the city welcomes about 40,000 visitors and has become a meeting point between peoples, cultures, and religious faiths, indicating a style of coexistence that also speaks to the great multicultural cities of the Third Millennium. Over time, various economic activities have consolidated. It is on work, in fact, that Loppiano’s economy is based, in full communion of material and spiritual goods.
In 2004, the Maria Theotokos sanctuary was inaugurated, which also houses an ecumenical chapel open to different Christian confessions. The adjacent multipurpose complex has been in operation since the beginning of 2007, equipped with rooms for congresses, musical and multimedia events. Near the citadel stands the entrepreneurial Polo Lionello Bonfanti, inaugurated in 2006, currently home to 20 Economy of Communion companies (when fully operational will be 30). The Polo intends to represent the main point of connection and place for the exchange of ideas and projects, for the over 200 companies that adhere in Italy (there are 700 in the world) to the Economy of Communion project.
Sophia University, a Higher Institute of Culture, was also founded in Loppiano in the autumn of 2008, structured as a specialized cycle of university studies.
Sophia proposes some interdisciplinary paths – in an initial phase: theology, philosophy, economics, politics- in which to deepen the cultural elaboration that springs from the spirituality of unity, giving life to a community of formation and study that introduces a unified vision of knowledge, for the integral growth of the person and of the evolving planetary society. Over time, other locations are planned, oriented towards specific study objectives, at the Focolare citadels that have sprung up around the world, in close connection with the pilot site in Loppiano.