From Kent Hauck: I was one of the first missionaries to enter Italy since the Lorenzo Snow era. At that time, many elders serving in the South German Mission (Stuttgart), Bavarian Mission (Munich), and Swiss Mission were called to work with italian "Gastarbeiter" or guest workers in each country. These individuals learned both German and Italian without the benefit of attending the MTC. This was in the days of 2 1/2 year missions. Unfortunately, the majority of the investigators and converts were males, who were working for better wages in the respective country without their families. This made it difficult for family teaching. Often these converts would become inactive when returning to Italy because of family pressure, Catholic pressures, and the lack of established LDS church buildings there. Because of this, the Italian missions in German speaking areas were closed in the year 1965.
At this time, many of the elders we transferred to the Swiss Mission, which was an "international" mission at the time, with elders also in Beirut. The Italian elders were transferred into northern Italy, yet served in the Italian mission. I was transferred to join them in 1965, and served in Torino, Bologna, Firenze, Palermo, and Messina. Today the country has several missions in these areas. I served under Presidents Mabey and Dunns.
In the year 1966, President Benson met with all the Italian missionaries in the city of Torino. We boarded a bus and rode into the area where the Waldenses were known to live. President Benson looked at a secluded hillside and declared words to the effect that "this was the right place." We all climbed the hillside, knelt in prayer and the Italian Mission was rededicated to the preaching of the gospel, under the prayer and vision of President Benson. It was a wonderful moment.
I ended my mission serving in Firenze where I trained new missionaries in italian ways, basic language usage, and missionary discussions. It was their "MTC". My mission ended a few weeks following the flood in Firenze, in which many of the local missionaries were stranded in their apartments for 3 days as the river Arno flooded the city.