Italy's largest gurdwara has opened in the northeastern
city of Castel Gomberto in Vicenza province, a sign
of the growing Sikh community in the country and their
The new building of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara
was purchased by the community in the countryside,
where many of the community members live. There are
some 3,000 Sikhs in Vicenza and their number is growing.
The gurdwara was inaugurated on November 9. Nearly
3,000 people took part in the inaugural ceremony,
which was addressed by Giani Puran Singh.
The gurdwara has large premises and has a modern
kitchen and langar hall. The prayer hall on the first
floor, where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept, can accommodate
There are some 60,000-70,000 Sikhs in Italy and their
number is growing. There are about 15 gurdwaras across
the country - the oldest one being in Reggio Emilia
in central Italy where many members of the community
are engaged in agriculture.
However, as the community members become more accustomed
to the Italian way of life, they are moving into industrial
clusters in the northeast, particularly Vicenza province.
Harbant Singh, president of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha
in Vicenza, is widely credited as being the brainchild
behind setting up the new gurdwara.
He thanked the community for its support and dedication
in establishing an important religious institution.
He also thanked the Indian embassy in Rome and the
Indian government for supporting the immigrants in
their settlement in Italy.
He said that the introduction of Alitalia flights
from Milan to New Delhi, in addition to the Milan-Mumbai
flights, had greatly helped the community in reaching
their hometowns more easily and directly from northern
Italy and acknowledged the positive role the embassy
had played in this regard.
The gurdwara committee members also thanked the embassy
for taking up with the Italian government the problems
faced by visa seekers from the community.
Meanwhile, several members of the community expressed
their happiness at the "positive image"
enjoyed by them in Italy as hard-working and honest