I thought I’d take a moment to share a few thoughts and photos from the recent NCPR trip to Italy. My colleague, Sandy Demarest, and I shared a week in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan with about 30 NCPR friends.
Rome is both strange and wonderful. Ancient ruins can be seen next to modern office buildings, and it was amazing to connect with a city that at one time was the center of the world. Gift shops and billboards reminded us that we’d just missed the beatification ceremony of the late Pope John Paul II on May 1st.
Pope Benedict visited Venice the same weekend we did, and some members of our tour group saw him after Mass and as he rode in a gondola flotilla along the Grand Canal. Here’s a view of the canal from the Rialto bridge shortly after the Pope’s visit and as regular boat traffic resumed:
The trip also included a visit to Certosa del Galluzzo, a 14th century monastery, just south of Florence. In the mid-1950’s a small group of Cistercian friars replaced the Carthusian monks at the monastery. But their numbers have dwindled to only four today, the youngest being in his 70’s. Since the monastery belongs to the City of Florence, it will likely become a museum.
Our last full day was spent in Milan and nearby Lake Como. In the city, we visited Duomo di Milano.
Milan’s cathedral took generations to build. One of the largest in the world, it includes 3500 statues, many among the facade, and room for 40,000 people.
Grazie mille, Italia!