Simón Bolívar and Montesacro

The libertador of Latin America, Simón Bolívar (1783–1830) was in Rome in 1805 and on 15th August, together with his friend, mentor and compatriot Don Simón Rodríguez, and according to other authors (SALIMA and VELÁSQUEZ) also with Fernando Toro, went on the Monte Sacro, where in 494 bC the plebs secession took place, where he said his oath: "¡Juro delante de usted, juro por el Dios de mis padres, juro por ellos, juro por mi honor y juro por mi patria, que no daré descanso a mi brazo, ni reposo a mi alma, hasta que haya roto las cadenas que nos oprimen por voluntad del poder español !" ("I swear before you, I swear by the God of my forefathers, I swear by them, I swear by my honor and I swear by my country, that I will give no rest to my arm nor rest to my soul, until I have broken the chains that oppress us by the will of the Spanish power! ").

On 27th December 1922, the City Council of Rome gave the current square Piazza Menenio Agrippa, in Garden City Aniene, (currently named Monte Sacro) the name of Piazza Bolivar. Today a square in the park of Villa Borghese is dedicated to Bolivar. On 17th December 1930, on the occasion of the first centenary of the death of the Libertador and 125th anniversary of his oath, a memorial plaque was dedicated to him on the facade of Don Bosco school, in piazza Monte Baldo, bearing the following inscription: "XVII dicembre MCMXXX - A Simone Bolivar, che sul sacro suolo dell'Urbe, giurò di restituire a libertà i suoi generosi fratelli d'America. Roma madre delle genti, nel primo centenario della sua morte, dedica questo ricordo e latinamente saluta i popoli redenti dal Liberatore". ("On 17th December 1930 - To Simon Bolivar, that on the sacred ground of the City, vowed to return freedom to his generous brothers of America. Rome, mother of the nations, in the first centenary of his death, dedicates this memory and greets in the Latin way the people redeemed by the Liberator". On the same wall, just below the 1930 plaque, another small plaque is placed, bearing these words: "Un juramento inspiró tu grandeza, un recuerdo constante de nosotros la ensalza y engrandece cada día más. - Misión Naval Venezolana de entrenamiento en Italia. Roma, 12 de Octubre de 1956" ("An oath was inspired by your greatness, a constant reminder by us enhances and magnifies it every day. - Venezuelan Naval Training Mission in Italy. Rome, 12th October 1956").
On 25
th February 2005 in Caracas, Venezuela, the final document of fourth Summit on Social Debt, laying out the need of the Social Charter of the Americas, defined the charter as the heir of Monte Sacro oath and on 16th October 2005, the two-hundredth anniversary of Bolívar visit, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, President of Venezuela, the nation that had seen the birth of Bolivar, paid tribute to the memorial that commemorates the event, also performing the first official visit by a chief of state to a district of Rome.

The memorial of Bolivar oath is located on the top of Monte Sacro hill, which is today a public garden, named "Parco Simón Bolívar", a few hundred meters from Piazza Sempione. To get there, from piazza Menenio Agrippa go down the old Via Nomentana (along the garden), take the first left, Via Falterona, next to the mausoleum; after a few meters, enter the garden on the right side through the gate and climb on top of the hill (about a hundred meters of "climb"). The monument, inaugurated August 15th, 2005 and designed by the Venezuelan Jorge Castello with the collaboration of the great Fruto Vivas (website), consists of one elliptical open space with a circular platform in the middle. On the platform, a 8 meters high central Attican column of Iranian travertine-like marble, rises from a granite square base, which can be lit, representing "the beacon that will illuminate forever the future development of mankind", silently creating the harmony typical of the sacred places.
The monument is accompanied, on the edge of the open space, by a bust of Bolivar and by a series of transparent panels bearing the text of the oath in Italian and Spanish, and the names of the commissioners, the Italian and Venezuelan presidents of the Republic (Ciampi and Chavez), the foreign ministers of the two countries, the embassy of Venezuela in Rome and the Municipality of Rome. The memorial was restored and fixed up on August 13
th, 2014, after being vandalized. Currently the garden is protected by gates and cameras to prevent further acts of vandalism.
The bust of Simon Bolivar was also vandalized in May 2019 and returned to its place on June 27, 2021, after the restoration.
In 2024, new episodes of vandalism occurred against the bust of Simón Bolívar: the bust had been smeared with paint, a company commissioned by the Embassy of Bolivia intervened to clean it, and the replacement of the glass of one of the panels was scheduled which bear the memory of the Monte Sacro oath, shattered by vandals.
Subsequently, on the night of February 4, vandals knocked down the statue of Simòn Bolivar, breaking it into two parts. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros on Instagram condemned the unacceptable act of vandalism, attributing it to the fascist hordes, friends of the Venezuelan far right, which does not love the country.
Again on February 28, again at night, vandals broke Bolívar's head into a million pieces., already damaged less than a month earlier, which had been placed on a bench, awaiting restoration, and surrounded by a fence. 

CAFERRI F., OPPES A. (2005) Chavez, un rivoluzionario a Roma Sono un libertador, come Bolivar. La Repubblica, October 17th 2005 link
G.I. (2005) Chavez ricorda Simon Bolivar a Montesacro. La Repubblica, October 16th 2005 link
GONZÁLEZ DÍAZ Joaquím (1960) Il Giuramento di Bolivar sul Monte Sacro. Capitolium,4: 3-6.6.
MESSINA FAJARDO Luisa A. (2005) Simón Bolívar 1805-2005. Doscientos años después del Juramento en el Monte Sacro - Roma. Informativo Venezuela Bolivariana, 3. 2: 16-17.
PULLARA Giuseppe (2005) Chavez a Montesacro "Qui giurò Bolivar duecento anni fa". Il Corriere della sera, October 17
th 2005 link
PERRECA Alessia (2024) Roma, vandali scatenati a Montesacro: danneggiato nella notte il busto di Simòn Bolìvar. La testa di gesso in frantumi. Il Messaggero online Montesacro. February 28, 2024.
SALIMA Pedro, VELÁSQUEZ Aníbal (2008) Reflexiones en torno al Juramento del Monte Sacro (selección de ensayos). Fundación Editorial el perro y la rana, Caracas

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page created: June 26th, 2015 and last updated: March 5th, 2024