Monday, September 8, 2008


Well, we've had a busy last 5 days. We took a trip up to the Northeastern part of Italy and spent 5 enjoyable days seeing the sights in Loreto, Ravenna, Faenza, Rimini, Assisi, and the Umbrian countryside.
Our first stop was to the little town of Loreto on the Adriatic. It's a small town with less than twelve thousand inhabitants but it's a major tourist and pilgrimage destination because of the fact that it is the home of what is documented to be the house of the Blessed Mother from Nazareth. This is a picture of the basilica which is built around the house. The basilica is a late-Gothic one and was finished around the year 1586.

Another shot of the basilica, and piazza.

This is the interior of the basilica. The richly-carved marble monument you see in the center is built around the Santa Casa, or holy house. It reminded me of the Ara Pacis in Rome. Since entrance to the Santa Casa was still a few minutes off I took the opportunity to walk around the basilica and view some of its other features.

This is one of a series of magnificent paintings that graced the wall of the right apse. It was so huge I couldn't capture it with my limited camera angle, but you get the idea.

This is the complete apse, covered in paintings, as you can see. The picture above is just part of the right wall!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the stained glass window that took up a third of the rear wall of the apse.

The Santa Casa was open by this time so I walked over and got this picture of the dome above it.

This is the statue of Our Lady of Loreto above the small altar in the house. It is made out of Lebanon Cedar.
This is one of the walls of the house itself. It is small, (roughly 28 feet by 12 feet by 13 feet high) and created of various materials including bricks, stone, and pottery remnants. The best document we have regarding its history is a historical document from the time of the crusades in which it is said to have been converted into a church by Constantine's mother Helen. Numerous inscriptions have been found on its walls made by Knights from the time of the crusades, and based on documents from the period, a site was recently found which turned out to be the foundation of the building itself. In the picture below you can see part of a fresco which was added on later.

A side of a side altar dedicated to St. Joseph.
And goodbye Loreto! A shot of the sea as we made our descent down from the town to take the road on to our next stop.

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