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Incredible Italian Adventure, Part Two

Tom and I have been spending some time organizing our pictures from our 15-day trip to Italy - 1500 of them between Tom, me, and the others in our tour group who posted their pictures on WhatsApp. It has been fun to go back and remember all that we experienced - the churches, the food, the Italian countryside, the great group of people with whom we traveled, and so much more. 


Our first stop on Friday, February 23rd, was in Turin where we saw the first of 26 churches on our itinerary - the Basilica di Maria Ausiliatrice which was founded by Don Bosco. Tom was in awe of the massiveness of the building and all of the detailed artwork on every surface. While this was a fairly new church - only 150 years old - we marveled at their lack of modern tools to build such structures. This would prove to be a similar theme in every church that we visited.


We also went to the Church of St. John the Baptist where we saw a replica of the famous Shroud of Turin which is displayed near the original.


We had the opportunity to attend an Italian opera at the Teatro Regio di Torino that evening but I was so afraid that I might just sleep right through it. The jet lag was real and the tickets were too expensive to risk missing the production because of it. But Father Jamie went and shared a video with me the next day so I could see what I missed.


On Saturday, February 24th, we traveled a short distance from Turin to Milan. The cathedral of Milan, also known as the Duomo, took over 600 years to build and was one of the most ornate that I saw on my trip forty years ago. It was actually smaller than I remembered but still just as beautiful.


We had Mass there in a small chapel behind the main altar. The chapel is also situated underneath a relic of one of the sacred nails used to hang Jesus on the cross which is kept near the ceiling.


Fashion Week was just ending in Milan so we saw several photo shoots that were happening in the covered mall near the Duomo where we also saw several high end shops like Gucci, Prada, and Yves St Laurent.


Nearby we had our first experience with a public restroom where we paid one euro (equivalent to about $1.00) for a ticket to use the bathroom. We quickly learned that we needed to have change on hand for these occasions. 


The next morning, Sunday, February 25th, we viewed The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci which he painted on a wall at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. We had a wonderful tour guide who was very passionate about The Last Supper so we learned a lot of details about the painting.


After that we took a short bus ride to the small town of Pavia. There we ate at an outdoor restaurant. The weather was a bit chilly but the food was great.


Then we visited The Charterhouse (also known as Certosa di Pavia) where six monks currently live. It has a stunning facade with many statues and architectural details. We were disappointed that we could not take pictures inside as it was equally beautiful.


We then had Mass at Santa Maria del Carmine.


And finally we went to the Church of St Augustine where we saw his bones which are displayed on the altar. 


Before we left Milan the next morning, Monday February 26th, we visited one more church - St. Augustine - which was a newer church built only 125 years ago. This modern church was filled with many amazing mosaics.


Next we boarded our charter bus for the trip through the northern Italian countryside - we saw lots of vineyards and olive trees - on our way to Venice.


Even though it was raining when we arrived we ventured out with our umbrellas to explore the shops near our hotel. We found our first gelato and couldn’t resist stopping in for a taste. We were not disappointed! 


As you can see our days were filled to the brink with so many sights and experiences. Stay tuned to see what adventures awaited us as we traveled through Italy.



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