Archive | Italian Festival RSS feed for this section

S. Margherita Festival Cortona

21 May

This weekend, the people of Cortona celebrated the feast of S. Margherita, Cortona’s patron saint, and kicked off the two weeks of the Medieval Giostra dell’Archidado.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Events began Friday night with the Colata dei ceri, or the casting of the candles, a religious practice that dates back to 1325. At the time, wax was collected and used by churches for candle making and also sold as a source of income.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Locals dressed in traditional costumes of the time and processed into Piazza Repubblica accompanied by drummers and flag bearers.

©Blogginginitaly.com

S. Margherita was eventually led into the piazza

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

and a few events from her life were reenacted.

©Blogginginitaly.com

If you look closely in the pink part of the photo, you will see a headsman or executioner. After Margherita was willing to sacrifice her life in place a convicted criminal, her followers cried out, “She is a saint!” and the criminal’s life was spared.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Saturday was the Offerta dei ceri or the offering of the candles. Large candles were carried into the piazza and blessed by the bishop.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Each quartiere or neighborhood of Cortona was represented in a procession that portrayed nobility, religious and workers of the time.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Following the blessings, the flag bearers delighted the crowds with their skills.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Then the candles were taken to the Basilica of Santa Margherita.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

On Sunday morning, several masses were held at the Basilica. We walked up Via Santa Croce…

©Blogginginitaly.com

where beautiful mosaics of the stations of the cross are built into the wall.

©Blogginginitaly.com

S. Margherita died in 1297 in a room behind the old church where she had lived the last years of her life. Over the years, the beautiful Basilica of Santa Margherita was rebuilt in her honor.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Her body is preserved in a silver casket on the altar. She was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII on 16 May 1728.

©Blogginginitaly.com

On my way out of the Basilica, I turned once again to admire its beauty, said one more quick prayer, and as I headed toward the door, a gust of wind blew it open. Really.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Such a wonderful weekend and such an interesting way to understand and celebrate this important part of Cortona’s history.

Ciao,
Judy

Pasqua and Pasquetta

17 Apr

Yesterday throughout Italy, families and friends gathered after mass for warm hugs, long Easter lunches and lively conversation. Intermittent rain showers didn’t dampen any spirits, although we were happy we ate inside.

We joined some friends at their beautiful home just past Pergo, a short ride from Cortona. We’ve been before, but it is always a pleasure to return as the setting is incredible.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Len, of course, needed to check out the 1975 Fiat 500 parked in the drive.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The house, built in the late 1700’s, was originally a farm-house, but is now a beautifully restored/renovated home with guest house, covered pool, garage and incredible 360° views, (and it is on the market as grandchildren live too far away!)*

©Blogginginitaly.com

We began on the terrace with a Prosecco toast.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Then lunch was served in the dining room.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Unfortunately, I missed taking photos of the delicious chicken with gorgonzola lunch, but desserts included a traditional Easter colombo – a dove shaped cake…

©Blogginginitaly.com

as well as fresh strawberries and cream on sponge cake.

©Blogginginitaly.com

After a few attempts, we even managed to take a timed selfie.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Afterward, some of us took a leisurely stroll around the property, admiring the views…

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

while others retired to the terrace.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Many thanks to our gracious hosts, shown in a photo I took of them on our last visit.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Pasqua and Pasquetta, Easter and Easter Monday, two holidays in Italy, the first religious, the second not. Once again today, Cortona was packed with people. In fact, both yesterday and today, there were traffic jams.

But today, Pasquetta, is a day set aside for relaxation. All the solemnity and preparation of Easter are over, and it is a day to relax, except, of course, for restaurants and retail shops who serve the masses of people enjoying a day off.

Strolling is the norm, so strolling we did. The park was filled with people,

©Blogginginitaly.com

taking in the views.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Others were enjoying entertainment in the piazzas, including the Old Florence Dixie Band,

©Blogginginitaly.com

and just appreciating the beautiful day.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Between the park and the piazza, we found an empty park bench and literally put our feet up as we took in the view.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Late afternoon, we headed home for a brief riposo (rest) before meeting friends for dinner.

©Blogginginitaly.com

And that’s what one does in Cortona for Pasqua and Pasquetta, a perfectly lovely few days.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

*Note: Many have asked me what the inside of an Italian house looks like. If interested, you can see more photos via the listing link below.

http://www.abodeitaly.com/property/68c/tuscany/casa-giordano-piazzano/arezzo/farmhouses-and-count/4-bedrooms

 

 

Buona Festa di San Giuseppe! Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

19 Mar

Today is the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the family, and it is a feast day celebrated by Italians everywhere.  It is also Father’s Day in Italy.

Most of the rest of this post comes from a previous one, but the thoughts and sentiments are the same.

Growing up in a neighborhood filled with many Irish and Italian families, I was always happy that the Italians also had their day in March to celebrate.

Joseph the Carpenter, 1642, Louvre, by Georges de La Tour

Joseph the Carpenter, 1642, Louvre, by Georges de La Tour

Of course, not quite as loud or rowdy as St. Patrick’s Day, we nonetheless celebrated the feast of St. Joseph with a food fest. And while the Irish had their green beer and accessories, the Italians, often sporting something red, had their zeppole, a cream filled fried pastry that originated in Napoli.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

According to my fellow blogger, MariaGiovanna, (Sharing My Italy) the “Zeppole di SanGiuseppe” originated in Naples, Italy, “where the first recipe was put on paper, in 1837, by the famous Neapolitan gastronome Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Italy to enjoy a zeppole. In Chicago, they can be found in authentic Italian bakeries such as Ferrara Bakery on Taylor Street. Light, airy and filled with cream, it is fun to see the smiles they generate on those wiping the cream from their lips.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

At this time of year, Ferrara’s and Italian bakeries everywhere are busy filling and selling hundreds of dozens of the cream filled gems.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

So, to those looking to get beyond the grey days of winter, here’s an idea – participate in a St. Joseph’s Day custom by sharing some food with the needy and with some friends, and, of course, be sure to bring some zeppole!

And a very Happy Father’s Day to our Italian friends.

Ciao,
Judy

Medieval Jousters on Horses in Cortona

22 Oct

For days, we had heard that the horses were coming, yet no one I spoke with knew why. Today, as with many days in Cortona, we were surprised and delighted with a colorful Medieval spectacle.

As overheard in the piazza, the nearby city of Arezzo has been highly victorious in jousting competitions this year. They came to Cortona today, dressed in their finest and with their victors high on horseback, to give thanks to their patron saint, Margherita. One of the participants told me this was a festival of adoration to their patron saint in appreciation for their success this year.

From our house, I heard the drummers and arrived just in time to see them enter the piazza from Via Roma.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

A few minutes later, the horses and jousters appeared in full matching Medieval regalia.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Once the horses took their places,

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

the flag wavers entered and all watched as they performed.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

In Italy, flag waving and throwing is a skill learned by the young and perfected over many years. It is an important part of many of the Medieval festivals and ceremonies, and one that requires years of practice.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

When the performance was finished, they joined the dignitaries on the grand steps of the Municipio for the speeches of gratitude.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Following the ceremony in the piazza, the parade moved down Via Nazionale, the main and only flat street of Cortona.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Their ultimate destination was the beautiful Santa Margherita Church at the top of Cortona –

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

where the saint lies in glass at the foot of the altar.

img_0727

In towns and cities all over Italy, ancient customs live on in the hearts, minds and practices of the people who received them from their ancestors and pass them on to future generations. It’s easy to get caught up in the pageantry and imagine days gone by. No matter how often I see one of these, it’s always quite a spectacle to behold.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

Note: Click on any picture to enlarge.

 

 

September Days in Cortona

18 Sep

Autunno, or autumn, is my favorite time of year in Cortona. The days are shorter, the winds are cooler, and the tide of tourism transforms.  It is a calmer time of year that lends itself well to contemplating all that meets the senses.

Parterre Changing Colors©Blogginginitaly.com

Parterre©Blogginginitaly.com

Saturday Market©Blogginginitaly.com

Saturday Market©Blogginginitaly.com

Fall Harvest©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Fresh Porcinis©Blogginginitaly.com

Porcini©Blogginginitaly.com

Lavender Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Lavender Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Choco Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Choco Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Choco Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Choco Festival©Blogginginitaly.com

Art Exhibits©Blogginginitaly.com

Art Exhibits©Blogginginitaly.com

And endless antiquities:

Via Santucci, Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Via Santucci, (Our street), ©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Signorelli Arch©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Autumn – The third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves begin to fall.

A good time to take time to ponder.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

Ferragosto

15 Aug

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15 and coincides with the major Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary. For many Italians, it is their summer vacation period and a time when many places of business also close their doors for vacation.

The Feriae Augusti, from which Ferragosto takes its name, comes from the “Festivals or Holiday of the Emperor Augustus” which was introduced in 18 BC.  The Feriae Augusti linked the various August festivals to provide a longer period of rest, called Augustali, which was felt necessary after the hard labour of the previous summer weeks.

Crowds flock to Cortona for this holiday, as they can enjoy live bands in the piazzas, various exhibits, and most of all, the Sagra della Bistecca held in the public gardens. This year numbers 57.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Large open grills, built for the occasion, become the center of attraction in the public gardens. Those tending to the grills are seasoned veterans, and know just when to turn the bistecca. Seared on the outside, very rare in the middle.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

For 28 euro, you get a bistecca, potatoes, choice of beans or tomatoes, a peach, and some vino.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Family and friends come together at long canopied tables to celebrate the holiday and share stories and laughter.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Like every festival, there is music, even if just one man and his many accouterments.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

After dinner, many walk through town to marvel at the ancient city’s beauty.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

And if your family is like mine, and a peach doesn’t quite qualify as dessert, it’s time for gelato.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Even the weather contributed to the weekend’s success  – bright blue skies, hot sun, and low humidity.

If you are thinking of Italy next summer, remember Cortona and Ferragosto.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

And if rare bistecca isn’t your thing, coming next weekend: the porcini festival!

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

My Here and There

29 Jun

Whether in Chicago or Cortona, Len and I try to walk everyday, or as we say in Italian, fare una passeggiata. During our walks, my senses take in beautiful sights, sounds (no ear buds for me), and the vast array of smells from fragrant flowers to pop-up food stands. The differences are striking, from the moment I step outside my door…

Via Santucci, Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Via Santucci, Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

And not surprising, as Chicago is a relatively new city…1833

©Blogginginitaly.com

Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

While Cortona is an ancient town… 7th century BC.

©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona©Blogginginitaly.com

And while the differences are striking in many ways, it occurred to me that there are some interesting similarities.

Both cities have incredible parks where we take  our walks,

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park, Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

with beautiful fountains,

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park, Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

incredible monuments and memorials,

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park, Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

seating for the weary,

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park, Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

And cats to entertain.

Lincoln Park Zoo©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park Zoo ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Parterre ©Blogginginitaly.com

While Chicago borders beautiful Lake Michigan,

Lake Michigan ©Blogginginitaly.com

Lake Michigan ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona is just a short drive to Lago Trasimeno.

Lago Trasimeno©Blogginginitaly.com

Lago Trasimeno ©Blogginginitaly.com

And both provide relaxing settings for walking and biking.

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Lago Trasimeno©Blogginginitaly.com

Lago Trasimeno ©Blogginginitaly.com

Now if stopping for ice cream/gelato is your thing, no problem…

Lincoln Park©Blogginginitaly.com

Chicago ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

or shopping at a local market.

Lincoln Park Market©Blogginginitaly.com

Lincoln Park Market ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona market ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Market ©Blogginginitaly.com

Need fast delivery? Both locales have you covered.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Looking for entertainment? Races on foot or on wheels?

hicago Marathon©Blogginginitaly.com

Chicago Marathon ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Bike Race ©Blogginginitaly.com

Or annual traditions?

Chicago Air and Water Show©Blogginginitaly.com

Chicago Air and Water Show ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Archidado©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Archidado ©Blogginginitaly.com

Feeling like spectating or donning a costume?

Lake Michigan ©Blogginginitaly.com

Lake Michigan ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Archidado ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona Archidado ©Blogginginitaly.com

And finally, when we need four wheels, …well, got that covered too!

Big City Safety

Big City Safety

Small town parking©Blogginginitaly.com

Small town parking ©Blogginginitaly.com

Ok, ok, don’t ask about such things as tomatoes, wine, cheese, pasta – no contest – but a very good reason to keep returning for una passeggiata in the land of my ancestors.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAMPICHIANA 2016: Mountain Bike Race

4 Apr

In keeping with my theme that one never knows what to expect in Cortona, yesterday we were entertained by RAMPICHIANA, a large mountain bike race which was held in Cortona.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Not sure of the number, but it seemed like a few thousand cyclists, in colorful gear and sponsorship, descended upon Cortona. As we got our morning coffee, many were walking, strategizing and warming up on Via Nazionale.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

There were three categories in this 12th edition of the race:

The LONG race was 45 km, or about 28 miles, through the streets and hills around Cortona, with 1600 meters (about one mile high) of altitude. The race started at 10 am

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

with the elite cyclists getting ready to begin.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

They were followed by the second group

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

and all headed down Via Nazionale toward Piazza Garibaldi, where they seemed to explode into a mass of colorful streamers.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The MIDDLE race was 30 km with 1100 meters in altitude. The SHORT race, for non-competitive cyclists and minors, took 45 minutes with less altitude and challenging curves. It was as close as I have ever been to a cyclist race, and everyone was caught up in the buzz as they flew by.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Good weather brought out the cheering spectators.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As we walked around town, we caught a glimpse of riders at various parts of the race. For those who know the town well, imagine riding UP Via Guelfa on a mountain bike when we are challenged walking up Via Guelfa on foot! And this is after riding over 20+ miles in the hills.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

We met a lovely couple from Pennsylvania who asked, “Do these things just sort of happen here?” “Yes,” I said and smiled. “It’s part of what keeps us coming back.”

The race ended in Piazza Signorelli, with the final curve leading from Piazza Repubblica.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

We were right there when the first woman crossed the finish line.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Complimenti!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

A good day for both riders and spectators…

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

and a well-deserved rest for a job well done!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

Misteri Trapani

27 Mar

The Processione dei Misteri di Trapani is a day-long passion procession featuring twenty platforms of lifelike wood, canvas and glue sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion of Christ. The Misteri are amongst the oldest continuously running religious events in Europe, having been performed every Good Friday since before the Easter of 1612, and running for at least 16 continuous hours. In Trapani, the procession runs 24 hours.

We were fortunate to view the procession from our balcony.

Every group in the procession is represented by a local tradesmen/craftsmen, e.g., fishermen, tailors, carpenters. Each carries a scene with statues and is usually accompanied by a marching band as well was flag bearers, candle holders, etc.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

There can be as many as 12 men in front and another 12 in back, and they link arms with each other to maintain balance.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Our position was about one hour into the procession, with 23 more hours to go.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Truly, there was a cast of thousands involved.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The movement of the statues requires incredible coordination and stamina, and it was evident it was quite an honor among the carriers.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Each team is responsible for its own decorations and costumes and raises funds well in advance.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The bands come from the various provinces around Trapani.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As the lit urn passed, the mood was quite solemn.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

If you look carefully, you can see the body of Christ in the urn.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

A candle lit procession preceded Our Lady of Sorrows.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Here are two short videos I took with music that really represents the tone and mood of the procession. The swaying is part of the pageantry, and the clapper you hear is what is used to stop and start the movement of the platforms, which happens about every 30 to 50 feet.

The day before the procession, we were able to see all of the life-size statues as the final preparations were made at the Church of the Purgatorio.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As you can imagine, it was quite a spectacle to behold.

Best wishes and Happy Easter. Auguri e Buona Pasqua!

Judy

Monreale Cathedral

20 Mar

Today is Palm Sunday, a Christian feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter and commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Worship services on Palm Sunday include a procession of the faithful carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowds scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem.  The difficulty of procuring palms in some climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including olive, as they also carried here in Monreale at the great Cathedral.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The Monreale Cathedral is one of the greatest examples of Norman architecture in the world, although, among other cathedrals, not hugely impressive on the outside.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

It was begun in 1174 by William II and in 1182, it was elevated to a metropolitan cathedral. The Cathedral is a national monument of Italy and one of the most important attractions of Sicily.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The Cathedral has two sets of Romanesque bronze doors, sculpted in 1185, of which there are only a handful remaining in Europe. They depict 42 reliefs of biblical scenes set within frames.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The true highlight of the Monreale Cathedral, however, is its mosaiced interior.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, the golden mosaics almost completely cover the walls, aisles, transept and apse – amounting to over 68,000 square feet of coverage.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Today’s Palm Sunday mass ran for nearly two hours, and began with a blessing of the palms and a large procession including girl and boy scouts and various religious dignitaries.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Even though the service was long, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing familiar verses in Italian as well as recognizable responses. Most of all, however, I enjoyed the opportunity to gaze in awe at the mosaics and the stories they tell.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

In the apse, there is a magnificent portrait of Christ Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”) gesturing in a blessing. Saints and apostles, as well old testament stories, fill the rest of the apse.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The aisles and transept depict scenes from the life of Christ, and cover practically all the surfaces of the cathedral’s walls above ground level.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The original roof was severely damaged by fire in 1811. The current roof, made of wood, is a faithfully restored reproduction, carved and painted in great detail very similar to the original roof.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

All of the cathedral’s mosaic figures are set with a background of gold mosaic “tesserae” or tiles. There are 130 individual scenes depicting biblical and other religious events and many of the mosaics even include inscriptions in Latin or Greek.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

I have been fortunate to visit many churches, basilicas, cathedrals, etc., in Italy, but I must say, this one is simply astonishing.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

%d bloggers like this: