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Monday, December 5th, 2016
san nicolò di bari
San Nicolò di Bari   It seems the month of December is the time of gift giving regardless of your religious affiliation or nationality. This is especially true in the United States, where the image of Santa Claus is emblazoned everywhere since late November. Other countries have their own version of a benevolent older gentleman who gives out gifts in December, usually known as Father Christmas. Whatever you call him, be it Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, or even Santa Claus, this
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
all souls day
November is inaugurated by two important religious feasts in Italy: All Saints Day and All Souls Day, on November 1st and 2nd, respectively. These are very important days in the Catholic tradition and their roots can be found deep in its past.     All Saints Day (November 1st) in Italy   All Saints and martyrs of Italy, as viewed by Fra Angelico (   La Festa di Ognissanti, or the All Saints Feast, is a religious event celebrated ion November 1st. This feast celebrates all the
Friday, October 21st, 2016
religious tourism italy
  When travelling to Italy, it's nearly impossible not to notice the influence Christianity had in the art and architecture of the country; in truth, spirituality is, for many, a strong reason to visit the country. If you're looking to make a pilgrimage or to have a vacation with a religious element, then Italy is really a great place to visit.     St. Peter and the Roman Cathedrals The first stop for many is - and should be - the Vatican, as St. Peter's Cathedral not only represents the core
Friday, September 9th, 2016
via francigena
The Trek Continued ( Continues from Via Francigena )   Via Francigena. Ph. flickr/Morail   Once pilgrims leave the Via Francigena and enter the city of Rome, there are traditionally seven churches that have been designated Pilgrim Churches. The two most important of these Pilgrim Churches are Saint Paul Outside the Walls and of course, Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Praying at the tomb of Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus built his Church is second only perhaps to
Friday, September 2nd, 2016
via francigena
The ancient Via Francigena is a pilgrim route starting as far as Canterbury, in England, and in a sense is the "mother road" for Christian pilgrims in Europe. For centuries, pilgrims from across Europe would trek across the Alps using the famous Saint Bernard Passes on their way to the pilgrim churches of Rome. During the Middle Ages, the Via Francigena continued further south to the port of Bari, home to the remains of Saint Nicholas and departure point for the Holy Land and the
Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
holy relics italy
Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, a small rag-tag group known as Christians began to make its mark in the heart of the old Roman Empire. Within the next few centuries this once highly persecuted religious sect became the official religion of Rome - effectively wiping out the old pagan faith. Since that time, emperors, popes, missionaries, crusaders and merchants have filled Italian churches with relics of martyrs and artifacts purportedly belonging to Jesus and the Apostles.   The
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
incorruptible saints italy
Visitors to certain Italian churches are often shocked by the display of a corpse, dressed in religious vestments and encased in a glass coffin at the high altar or in the crypt. What is most shocking is that many of these bodies are hundreds of years old and yet are still in excellent condition. These are the bodies of the mysterious incorruptibles, pious individuals whose remains do not decompose after death. The phenomenon of Incorruptibility is taken as a powerful sign of saintliness in the
Thursday, June 16th, 2016
padre pio
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina   "Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God." These are the words of Padre Pio (now known as Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina) and they adequately encapsulate his approach to faith as well as his overall spiritual practice. Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy (a province of Benevento), into a southern peasant family. Today he is mainly known for being the first priest ever to bear the
Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
sacri monti
Shrines, Chapels and other Secrets in the Mountains of Italy   Be sure to read part two of this article!   One of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy are the Sacri Monti, or Sacred Mountains, that are located in the northern part of the country. These mountains are actually nine groups of churches and chapels created in the 16th and 17th centuries. Along with their religious significance these structures are also noteworthy for their architectural features and
Friday, May 20th, 2016
monti sacri valle d'aosta
Be sure to read part one of this article! At the foot of the Alps, the tiny region of Valle d'Aosta is home to eleven mountain shrines, sanctuaries and hermitages. These small chapels are testament to centuries old Catholic practices based upon the local folk traditions. Penitent souls have made processions to these isolated locations for generations to give thanks for their prayers being answered. The interiors of these sanctuaries are covered with votive offerings left by the faithful,
Monday, March 14th, 2016
Monte Sant'Angelo
    The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo (Stefano Maffei/flickr)   On Puglia's Gargano peninsula lies an ancient shrine that is both historically as well as spiritually significant. Known as Monte Sant'Angelo, this shrine is where veneration of Saint Michael in Western Europe began and is said to have been consecrated by the Archangel himself. Other famous shrines to Saint Michael the Archangel, such as Mont Saint Michel in Normandy and Saint Michael's Mount in
Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Franciscans in Italy
The last, documented one took place about two weeks ago in Florence and the video, published as usual on social networks, went viral in a matter of hours: I am not talking of VIPs interviews or dumb acts glorified by the net, as it often happens these days, but of dancing churchmen and women.    So, what happened? A group of Franciscan Friars gathered in Florence's Piazza della Signoria for the Missione Giovani Firenze 2015, an event organized on national level, that sees friars and nuns
Thursday, October 15th, 2015
cult dead and burial methods italy
  The months of October and November are peculiar: Summer is, in most of the country, a distant memory, yet, the light and brightness brought by winter snow still have to come. These are weeks characterized by the first, true cold of the season, the early setting of darkness, the scents – if you live in the countryside, that is – of damp earth and fallen leaves. Nature, in October and November, puts on her rich autumnal cloak, heavy with red, orange and golden embroideries. Sometimes, when
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope   Pope Francis has called a Jubilee for year 2016.  In over seven hundred years of history, the Jubilee has changed drastically. The first 'holy years' were under two highly controversial popes known for their 'lack of spirituality': Boniface VIII, who proclaimed the first Jubilee in 1300, and Alexander VI, the Borgia pope who acknowledged fathering several children by his mistresses.   The pilgrimage began as a way to request "indulgences": those baptized
Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Hall of Mirrors - Damanhur   The quiet Valchiusella valley, close to Torino in Northern Italy hides a secret below ground. Unknown to most visitors and for a time even the Italian Government, this valley is home to a bewildering temple complex known as the Temples of Damanhur. The vast underground temples were begun forty years ago by a man who now goes by the name of Falco, following his lifelong vision. From a handful of followers digging under a house, the temples and the
Saturday, April 18th, 2015
holy shroud
Sacra Sindone - the Holy Shroud   The Holy Shroud (believed by many faithful to bear the image of dead Jesus) was exhibited from April 19 to June 24, 2015.   Since 1578 the Shroud is held in the Cathedral of San Giovanni in Turin, but usually it is not shown in public. The latest "Ostensioni", the expositions to the public, were in 2000, 2010 and 2013. The Church has permitted the Shround to be filmed and broadcast only twice, in November 1973, as ordered by then-pope Paul VI, and in 2013.   
Friday, March 13th, 2015
tombs of Apostles
  The Many Tombs of Religious Figures in Italy   Italy is the final resting place of many of the Apostles and the Evangelists: some were martyred in Rome, while others were brought to Italy centuries after their deaths. Several of these holy bodies found their way to Italy by less-than-holy means, usually by theft. There is also the fact that unscrupulous merchants, priests and crusaders helped fuel a trade in holy relics during the Middle Ages when bones, clothes or objects (and
Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Religions of Italy
 Italy and its long history of spirituality   When it comes to spirituality, Italy is a traditionally Catholic country. In spite of the large increase in practice of other creed, the majority of Italians still consider themselves Catholic. A poll conducted by Doxa in 2014, 3/4 (75%) of Italians consider themselves Catholics believers. 10% of us feel spiritual and believe in the existence of a superior entity, yet do not associate themselves with any organized religion, whereas 5%
Monday, December 1st, 2014
Pope Francis, the new face of the Catholic Church (by neneosan at   Italians and Catholicism   The relationship between Italians and religion is very special, indeed.We have been a bunch of spiritual people since before the Romans.   Italy is, constitutionally, a nation embracing all creeds and religions, where the relationship between State and Church is regulated and sanctioned by constitutional laws. This is especially important as
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
saintly relics italy
Don't forget to read Part I of this article to learn more about the Saints!   Saint Anthony of Padua   Saint Anthony of Padua   Saint Anthony,  simply known as Il Santo in Padua is one of the most popular Christian saints of all time. Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal, and from a very early age he was in search for a better way to serve God. He found it in the form of the Franciscan Order, which was, at the time, quickly spreading across Europe.
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
saintly relics italy
  Let's continue our series of articles dedicated to the spooky and the deadly, in occasion of Halloween. After an overview of this feast in Italy, some gruesome info about torture practices and places and burial habits in the country and a look at our very own spookish Fall festivities, All Saints and All Souls, it is now time to tackle a very Italian, very Catholic topic, that of saints and their relics. How many are there in Italy? Can visitors view them and what's the story
Monday, October 20th, 2014
death in Italy
Death and Mourning in Italy: a View of the Monumental Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa, from  the Early 1900s (   Italians celebrate life with verve but how do they deal with death? Is it in the same practical, but lively manner? When I visited the cemetery in Belgirate, a small village on Lake Maggiore, I was very impressed. It was extremely well kept - the grass was carefully mown and there was no sign of a weed anywhere. Even more impressive were the graves, which
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Religion is an all-pervasive force in Italy and one cannot know the true nature of this country and its people without understanding the role faith plays in Italian life. Travelers to Italy have no choice but to visit the churches, shrines and monasteries if they want to examine some of the greatest art and architecture ever created. Not to mention the great masterpieces of the Renaissance are mostly religious in nature. Unlike many churches in other European countries, the churches in Italy
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Create your own pilgrimage adventure! Increasing numbers of seekers are taking off on pilgrimage to quench a spiritual thirst. That is why James and Colleen Heater from Nevada City, California wrote The Pilgrim’s France and The Pilgrim’s Italy, as an answer to their own quest when searching for sacred sites in these two delightful countries. They have learned much from their travels and want to share the following tips with those souls seeking more meaningful travel experiences. Don’t bite off
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Available in English: Christmas in Italy   Natale a Milano   La festa del Natale e' considerata, quasi in tutto il mondo, la festa piu' importante dell'anno. Viene celebrata il 25 dicembre e per il popolo Cristiano si festeggia la nascita di Gesu' Cristo.   In realta' il Natale ha origini pagane. Ai tempi dell'antica Roma era il giorno dedicato all'adorazione del Dio Mitra, che rappresentava il Sole, ed era appunto legato al passaggio del sole. Successivamente intorno
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The BBC calls Saint Clare a 'cool saint' because she is the patron saint of television. Clare became this because she once saw mass celebrated on the walls of her dormitory even though she was more than a mile away. She saw this so clearly that she could name the friars who organized the mass the next day! Fresco of Saint Clare located the Lower basilica of San Francesco, Assisi The beautiful daughter of a very wealthy count in Assisi and his pious Christian wife, Clare was born in 1193.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
No visit to Italy would be complete without stopping by some of the most beautiful cathedrals and churches in the world. Even if you're not religious, these architectural masterpieces demand your attention just due to their history and their majesty. Let's take a look at some of them and why you should include these stops in your tourist itinerary. Your first stop should be in Monte Cassino at the Basilica Cathedral. Situated inside the Abbey of Monte Cassino located beween Rome and Naples,