The little city
A small town,
laboratory of fraternity
Loppiano is the first international little city of the Focolare Movement. It is situated on 260 hectares (approximately 642 acres) of land on the plateau to the west of the municipality of Figline and Incisa in Valdarno, 20 kilometres (approximately 12 miles) from Florence.
From all over the world
Loppiano is a place of houses, workspaces, schools, where about 1000 inhabitants live. Its “citizens” come from all over the world and are people of different ages, social backgrounds, nationalities, religious beliefs, and vocations. The international and multicultural component makes Loppiano a city-laboratory with over fifty years of experience. A large part of its inhabitants live there temporarily, so as to participate in the many experiences of formation and of life which the little town offers. More than half, on the other hand, live permanently in Loppiano or the surrounding villages of the Fiesole diocese.
The law of Loppiano
Loppiano is a living and daily witness of a multicultural coexistence based on evangelical life. Its vocation is that of a city that contains and reflects all the realities of human life (work, economy, sport, entertainment, study, art, etc.) as they would be were they inspired by the mutual love which Jesus invites us to live in the Gospel:
«This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to give your life for your friends.»
This commandment of Jesus constitutes the “law” of Loppiano. Certainly, no one can be forced to live this original “law”, but it is proposed as a model of life and as the basis of every relationship.
honorary citizen of Figline and Incisa Valdarno
Since 1964, the relationship of the Focolare’s international little city with institutions, with the business world and with the nearby cities have had their ups and downs. Emanuele Auzzi, mayor of Incisa Valdarno from 1995 to 2004, explains: “After an initial period of rapid development, relations cooled down due to mutual misunderstandings. But a solution had to be found, so that already in 1985 the development of Loppiano was resumed in a relationship not only of collaboration but of progressive understanding.” It was an understanding that led the City Council to confer in 2000 honorary citizenship on Chiara Lubich, founder of the little city. On that occasion, Mayor Auzzi recognized Loppiano to be: “A very important resource for Incisa and for the entire Valdarno.”
A Passion for Humanity
“There is Christian life and then there is Christian life. In Renata, a bit like in the saints, there was a particular dimension of the Christian life present – I would dare to say a mystical dimension, a dimension such that it was her person, her being, her silence, her smile that worked more than her words. Renata loved. At the end of her life, she could say: ‘I have always loved.’”
“How many times have saints passed alongside us? Did we realize it? I’ve seen people younger than me become models of gospel life. I have lived during their time, breathed the same air and I ask myself: Why them and not me?” These words of Bishop Mario Meini, Bishop of Fiesole, in whose diocese the little town of Loppiano is situated, express well the feelings of the crowd of people present on February 27, 2011. The occasion was the closing of the diocesan phase of the beatification of the Servant of God, Renata Borlone.
In the 1950s, the first group of people, attracted by the spirituality of the Focolare Movement, was in the Dolomites, in northern Italy during, the summer months.