Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Today was a national holiday so we decided to take a day trip to Orvieto. We met some good friends named Erminio and Tommasina, who mom and dad had actually met 20+ years ago when they were first here. Orvieto is a great little mountain town about an hour and a half north of Rome. It was originally an Etruscan settlement, then a Roman colony, then a medieval village, one of the papal states and finally a modern town. So as you can imagine, there is a lot of history. One of the main things we came to see was the Eucharistic miracle that is in the cathedral, so read more about that below.

Anyways, this is mom browsing one of the pottery shops. I couldn't even count the pottery shops, there were so many of them.

Orvieto also has a nice outdoor market. This is mom, and Tommasina trying a hat on Philomena. (They ended up getting it.)

There were also these candles, handmade. Aren't they pretty?

We went up to the top of the medieval palace. This is a shot of me up top.

This one-man-band was marching through the streets, so I had to take a picture. It's crazy what you see over here. You'd never see this back in the states. I mean, what makes this guy randomly decide to go outside and march around? He was kicking his feet, which would beat the drum, rattling his shaker, and grinding his organ. Definitely an experience.

They also had many food stalls with local and Italian specialties. This stall was selling truffles. They had some dips you could sample which were very good, but 25.00 a jar. Ouch!

Then we stopped for lunch. We ate lunch in the park which over looks the valley below. Here is Alex on the wall.
Here is everyone laughing about something, I'm not sure what. The fellow in the center is Erminio.

Then we walked back through the town to the cathedral. Here is a typical Orvieto street.

This is the cathedral. It's amazing that such a tiny town has such an incredible edifice. It's one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. The cathedral is striped white marble and black basalt, and dates back to the 14th century.

Here is a shot of the facade. All the images on the facade are mosaics. Incredible, no?

This is a picture of the mosaics going up one of the columns. The precision of the spiral columns is incredible.

This is the interior of the duomo.

This is the corporal that is the main reason we came to Orvieto.

In 1263 a German priest, Peter of Prague, stopped at Bolsena while on a pilgrimage to Rome. He is described as being a pious priest, but one who found it difficult to believe that Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host. While celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina (located in the church named for this martyr), he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the altar and the corporal. You can read the complete story by clicking the following link. http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/bolsena.html

This is the corporal with the blood stains on it. (Not a great picture). They form an image that is similar to that of the face of Christ on the shroud of Turin.

After we left the cathedral we went outside to the "Pozzo" or well. The well is an amazing feat of architecture. It was dug to provide for the castle in time of seige, and is 62 meters deep. However it contains two spiral staircases that go down to the bottom, and yet do not intersect! This was done so that donkeys could go down the steps (which are really more like ramps) without bumping into eachother. You enter the well from one side, and descend to the bottom. You cross the water, which puts you on the other side of the well, and ascend to the top using a DIFFERENT stair case. It really is amazing, being inside the structure, so deep in the ground. Here is a picture of the well from the outside.

This is a picture looking down. Note the windows carved into the rock. And if you look at the veeeery bottom you can see the little bridge, and the water.

This is when we were about 1/3rd down, looking up to the surface.

A shot of us on the steps. Look how nice the way down is! Nice and large...but imagine how much rock they had to remove.


DelGrosso said...

These are amazing pictures Anthony. Great descriptions too. So many beautiful and incredible things you are sharing. Thank you!

Barbaranne said...

Okay, I got dizzy just looking at the pictures of that well! So how much pottery is your Mom bringing home- it's gorgeous!

Thomas said...

Fantastico! Great shot of the Cathedral.

debbie m. said...

Anthony, this is so cool. Thanks for taking the time to take such lovely pictures, and to educate us on how much you are learning. I feel I am learning right with you. btw, I shared your site with two of my friends who are also Roman Catholic, and they are enjoying your site too.
God Bless, Debbie M.

Pietro said...

Ciao, sono Pietro, il compare di Andrea che oggi ha fatto la cresima. Sono molto contento di aver' fatto da compare di Andrea ed esser' diventato parte della famiglia De Piante.

La prossima tappa, andremo ad Assisi insieme.

Bronwyn said...

My favourite shot is the one looking through the alleyway with the little car on the right. My camera and I are itching to go visit!

Aggie said...

Great shots Anthony, thank you for taking the time to do this. The cathedral is beautiful.

rica said...

So Andrew was in the well all this time? r