The years from the middle of the 19th century to the beginning and establishment of Fascism were, in political terms, very troubled. Hundreds of years earlier Ravenna had even been capital of the Western Roman Empire, but by now it had lost all its renown. The area around the city was part of the territory of the Papal State from the beginning of the 16th century, but a violent, often brutal anticlerical spirit had developed there. There were far more civil than religious marriages and funerals – an inconceivable state of affairs at that time in any Italian city. Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903), when he entrusted the Diocese to the new Bishop Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931), defined Ravenna as “the China of Italy”, not, certainly, for political reasons, but because China was at that time the great farthest reach of mission, far more so than Africa and the Americas. Being a priest here was like being a priest at the source of the Yellow River or in the shadow of the Great Wall. As a result, the Ravenna priests shut themselves up in their sacristies, fearful, unwilling to take the risk of poking their heads out of their shells.
There were a few exceptions. One of them was Don Angelo Lolli.