JUBILEE CULTURAL ROUTES

THE VOICE OF POPE LEO XIII

Domenica del Corriere

In 1903, Gianni Bettini, a former cavalry officer and genial inventor in the field of sound recording, managed to achieve a historical feat which had far reaching resonance and merited a cover article by Beltrame in the Domenica del Corriere (19 March 1903): he recorded the voice of Pope Leo XIII (the Ave Maria in Latin and the Apostolic benediction). It was 5 February 1903; the Pope would die, aged ninety-three, a few months later.
It is worth recalling that the same feat was unsuccessfully attempted by the Gramophone (The Voice of the Master) correspondent in Italy, Fred Gaisberg, who had hoped to be able to record the Pope’s voice during his second trip to Italy in 1900.