The treasures of the “Sala Stampa” drawer

Boxes line the Press Room of the Holy See where the journalists who follow the activities of the Holy See and the Pope meet every morning. In the “Sala Stampa”, for the majority of correspondents in the Vatican, these small rooms with the glass door are very useful places to store computer and printer, but also some books and directories essential for the daily decryption of Vatican affairs. So many tools stored in duly closed cupboards.

Only for over a year has the Vaticanist of The cross had never been able to access the two cupboards and the drawer to which neither he nor any of his predecessors had apparently ever had the key. Until that day when the technical services of the Press Room came, with great blows of a drill, to open the said cupboards. Finally, it was thought, allowing books and magazines to be stored there.

We thought we would discover some old directories or old copies of the code of canon law. At a pinch of old notebooks forgotten around here. But when we opened the two cupboards and the little drawer in our box, the discovery was much more precious. Because inside were stored the affairs of Arcangelo Paglialunga, once dean of the Vatican Press Room, a Vaticanist who covered the news of six popes, who died in 2011 at the age of 91, after a life spent in follow the Vatican news.

Ten years after his death, therefore, still sleeping in the drawer the trace of a correspondence of this close to the private secretary of John XXIII with members of the Curia, badges to access the Press Room in the 1970s, as well as an old Ferrania camera (without film!), still protected by its brown leather cover. In a few days, Arcangelo Paglialunga’s son, Massimiliano, will take over his father’s belongings. Like so many witnesses to a journalistic activity that began here fifty years ago.


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