St. Don Bosco
had the church built in the
1880's for the Salesian Order
, which he founded. Pope Pius IX, friend of Don Bosco, was responsible for the acquisition
of the land on Esquillino Hill on where the Basilica was to be built. The architect of the Basilica was Francesco Vespignani
son of the great architect Virginio Vespignani, "the architect of Pope Pius IX." The foundation stone was laid in 1870. However, the annexation of Rome
by the Kingdom of Italy delayed matters, and the building was finally finished in 1887. The Basilica was consecrated in April 1887.
This was the first parish church built after the capture of Rome and it became a parish in February 2, 1879.