October was a great month to visit Italy as the weather was close to perfect!
This was a Catholic pilgrimage, so all of the places that the kids explored were wonderful! Rome was magnificent, Venice was unique…each city….Ravenna, Florence, Padua, etc. had its high points. But out of all of them, the little town of Assisi was, hands down, their favorite! It was peaceful and beautiful, and definitely “Europe” with its narrow stone streets, its beauty and its “feel”!
Below is a gallery, clicking on thephoto will make it larger.
Thank you, once again, to our dear friend, Chris, for his commentary as the group continued their Faith-filled journey!
This Church is right at the base of the city of Assisi. It is where St Francis restored one of the little churches (not the original church that he restored in San Damiano) and his original followers would meet in this little church. This is also the place where he died.
We drove up the mountain and got to walk through the city of Assisi. Honestly, it’s the most beautiful and peaceful place on earth. The buildings here date back several centuries, and the stones are original to the Roman city that had been built before the time of Christ. The air was so clear and refreshing. I’m ready to move in! 😁
We visited the inside of the basilica. We saw the body of St Clare, the cross from San Damiano from which Jesus spoke to St Francis, and several relics from St. Francis and St. Clare, including their habits and St. Clare’s hair!
Blessed Carlo Acuto (laid to rest in the Basilica of St Clare).
More walking of the streets on our way to the Basilica of St. Francis.
We visited the crypt of St Francis in the Basilica and got to explore the grounds a bit. A few more excellent angles for scenic posing! 😉. Oh, and Angelo very happily obliged the women folk by eating the skin of a pig’s nose that Rosie did not particularly care to eat. Father Akers offered him $10 if he ate it. Angelo is now a wealthier man!
Today we arrived in the City of Florence, otherwise known as the city of saints. We walked along the Arno River in order to approach the center of town. There is a lot of amazing architecture!
The first church we visited was Santa Croce (Holy Cross). We couldn’t go inside due to Sunday Mass going on, but we saw the outside which was stunning. Apparently Michelangelo, Galileo, and Rossini (who was a composer of polyphonic music) are all buried in this place. There is a tribute to the great poet Dante Alighieri, who is buried elsewhere, but who was alive when construction on the church was begun.
Walking through the streets of Florence, we saw many statues and lots of amazing architecture, much of which depicts saints who come from the city.
Next we discovered the Duomo (combination of the Domus Domino, or House of the Lord). It is the fourth largest cathedral in the world, and has a dome second only to the dome on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is a HUGE building, decorated on the outside with various colors of marble and granite. The name of the church is Santa María del Fiore (Our Lady of the Flowers).
In the courtyard of the museum of San Marco (St. Mark), which used to be a monastery of Dominicans (I think). It contains many artworks of Blessed Fra Angelico. These are some of the original artworks. The colors are vibrant, the style is Florentine, and the perspective is amazingly lifelike. Their three-dimensional aspect in these paintings is clear. It was a revolutionary way to depict images, as prior to Fra Angelico, no one painted with such proportion and dimension.
We got to walk around and visit the cells of the monks, which were very sparse and bare. Each cell had a painting in it, depicting similar things. (One of the saints I had never heard of was St. Peter the Martyr, who was a Dominican killed for the faith. He is depicted in many of these paintings.)
We grabbed lunch at a pizza place and then walked some more around the square (or rode a carriage if walking became inconvenient! 😉)
We ended the day with a sung Mass at the Church being used by the Institute of Christ the King (many thanks to the ladies from Maple Hill for providing very fine music in the choir! 😉). The Chancellor of the Diocese of Florence met us on the steps and told us that he is glad to see the Latin Mass is still somewhat allowed, and encouraged us to keep up our efforts, while also being patient and avoiding bitterness and resentment. It was very encouraging to hear. (He was a former FSSP seminarian long ago, and also a member of the ICKSP for a while). We also did get to sneak inside the Duomo before heading back to the buses to come back to the hotel for the night.
“The Christian family will not be restored, nor will it be maintained, without the restoration and the maintenance of Christian practices—the noblest practices surely, and the most obligatory, but likewise the most insignificant in appearance.” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home
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