Giorgio Tesi Plants in the heart of the Sanctuary of Lourdes


The initiative was organized by the non-profit Fondazione Giorgio Tesi and the association Amici di Lourdes (Friends of Lourdes) in memory of Luciano Bani, the well-known moving force behind the organization, and of Giorgio Tesi, founder of the Giorgio Tesi Group.

The non-profit Fondazione Giorgio Tesi will donate large trees for the landscaping of the grounds adjacent to the Grotto of Our Lady, which is the heart of the Sanctuary of Lourdes. The project is part of the Projet Grotte - Cœur de Lourdes (Grotto ProjectThe Heart of Lourdes) with changes planned for the area surrounding the location of the apparitions and in the new direction the pilgrims will walk so as to enhance the prayerful environment and bring greater organization to the spot, as part of the pastoral work laid out by the bishop last February.

Work was begun last 17 November and will continue in two phases until 2016.

Phase 1 / 2014-2015  

  • Construction of a new mobile bridge, the “Grotto Bridge", less vulnerable to floods, placed between the current candle stands and the pools.
  • Planting of trees in the space between the arches and the Grotto`s parvis.
  • Relocation of the candle stands on the right bank of the Gave.
  • At the Grotto: new paving, furniture replacement, and installation of a flood protection system




Phase 2 / 2015-2016

  • Preparation of site devoted to making the sign of the cross with holy water
  • Complete reorganization of the pools waiting area and construction of a shelter.
  • Installation of a space intended for candles (new candle stands and plants), on the right bank of the Gave, opposite the new fountains
  • Setting up of a second sacristy where the firemen are currently located.


The proposed remodeling, unanimously accepted by the French bishops, aims at a return to the original environment of prayer and meditation, with fewer activities not directly related to contemplation and an orderly route for pilgrims.
The first change in the Grotto area will be the introduction of a wooded section at the exit from the Rosary Esplanade towards the Grotto. It will be done so as to ensure that the trees contribute to an environment of inner preparation and the spigots in this area will be removed to eliminate these distractions before reaching the location of the apparitions
The tree-lined space is the new approach to the Grotto. It is a waiting area as well as a place for inner preparation and flow management, set before enter to discover the heart of Lourdes. The trees whose trunks will rise from the ground will create a cool and shady, green shelter, serving as a gentle filter.


The trees donated by the non-profit Fondazione Giorgio Tesi are 30 Fraxinus angustifolia "Raywood", 4-5m in height with a trunk circumference of 20-25 cm.
The Grotto as such will not be touched, except for some lighting and furnishing changes to enhance the feeling of intimacy and more faithfully communicate the sacredness of the area.
Since 1858, the time of the apparitions, the modifications made to the Grotto and its natural environment have reflected the life of the universal church. In the past, the Grotto was closed by a gate; the crutches of some of those who were healed were displayed there. In essence, the changes made followed the pilgrims` expectations in relation to the times, while retaining the original message. The message of Lourdes is made up of gestures and words exchanged between the Virgin Mary and Bernadette Soubirous: "God is Love, He loves us as we are," the Madonna calls men to be continually converted and to build the church with a missionary spirit. The Grotto is the place where this universal message began; it will largely regain its natural appearance through the project, Grotto, the Heart of Lourdes.


"We are delighted and honored to contribute to this project,” says Fabrizio Tesi, president of the Fondazione Giorgio Tesi. “Lourdes is one of the most important sanctuaries for the Catholic world. Our family and the foundation are linked to these values and we wanted to remember the work of Luciano Bani, who gave so much to the world of pilgrimages by Pistoians, and of Giorgio Tesi, who, along with Tullio, established the Giorgio Tesi Group ".