Friends of San Filippino is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with one big, audacious overall mission and a specific project that embodies that mission.
Our overall mission is to help create a movement and a model for all people who want to start a non-profit organization to restore an important place and help revitalize an amazing small town anywhere in Italy, regardless of whether or not scholars deem these places “uniquely important” or travel writers include these towns on “must-see” itineraries.
Many small towns have one of these
The truth is that almost every small town in Italy has some site -- a church, a fountain, a statue, a town hall -- that is historically important and (usually) spectacularly beautiful but in disrepair.
The fact is that most of these sites will fall down and be lost forever, unless we raise money and fix them.
A template for others
So, we founded Friends of San Filippino in the hopes that it would not only save San Filippino but also serve as a template for others who want to save other sites throughout Italy.
If you or anyone in your family are aware of an important (however you define that word) site in small town Italy that is in desperate need of restoration, maybe we can help.
Let’s work together
We’d like to hear from you. We’d like to share our knowledge with you, our experiences. We’d like to help.
We’d like to build up a network of Italian Americans and Italy lovers who want to engage and take action before priceless treasures are lost forever.
OUR SPECIFIC PROJECT
The specific project that we’re obsessed with is the restoration of San Filippino.
We are working hard to 1) fully restore the beautiful little 17th century baroque chapel of San Filippino, located in Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany, Italy, and 2) re-establish the chapel's associated common areas and apartments as places where pilgrims, priests, scholars, business leaders, artists, and people of all walks of life can gather to learn and share and help one another.
Saint Philip Neri
San Filippo, or Saint Philip Neri to English speakers, founded the Oratorians, a particular order of the Catholic Church famous for bringing together religious and lay people to laugh and have fun, grow spiritually, serve the poor, aid children, care for pilgrims and educate the general public.
The San Filippino church and oratory complex in Castiglion Fiorentino is a veritable hidden jewel. It's beautiful. One of the first Oratories established in Tuscany, it once existed as a thriving community center where ordinary people like us did and experienced extraordinary things. But now it's boarded up, abandoned and falling down.
We can't let that happen.
Your own pilgrimage
We hope that you will join us and that you will make this project a pilgrimage of sorts, a part of your own personal journey toward greater self-awareness, greater understanding, greater fulfillment and greater happiness.
Take a minute. Imagine this once bustling community center back in action. Imagine international visitors (like yourself) and the local community attending lectures, concerts and classes here.
Imagine visiting scholars, artists, business leaders and priests from all over the world taking sabbaticals in the upstairs apartments, sharing their passions with the people of Castiglion Fiorentino.
With your help, together we can make all this happen.