Thursday, April 19, 2018

VERONA 2017: The Santo Stefano Church

So, after the Santa Maria in Organo church, followed by the Roman theater (remember?), we next stopped at the Santo Stefano church right next door.

That would be the green dot.

It was consecrated in 421 and was the burial site for the bishops of Verona for 4 centuries.
For a period of time it was the duomo/cathedral of the city.
It is one of the city's oldest churches.

We had seen the octagonal bell tower first before seeing the church.

This drawing (from Google images) helps.  

As usually happens, we're "short of eyes" when we first enter a church.  Where to start?
In this case, we entered the "lower church"...

where we were met by a volunteer who made it clear she would guide/assist us.
While we prefer to wander about on our  own, we later discovered that this church
has locked parts that can only be seen through guides.
And there were guides there that day because of the Verona Minor Hierusalem project,
a "small Jerusalem" experience for those who can't travel to the Holy Land.

She (our guide) immediately started with the amazing frescoes everywhere.

These are the Musical Angels by Domenico Brusasorzi, circa 1552.

She then took us down to the crypt...

where we saw a 14th century statue of St. Peter in his chair.
(Hmmm.  Where was St. Stefano?)

[I'm not sure I took any other photos in the crypt???  See why we don't usually like guides?]

To be honest, this church, along with the sequence of my images, is totally confusing to me.
 "The interior of the church has three naves, but with a single ceiling,
which has a cross, crypt and raised presbytery."

It took me awhile to figure out that this image (above)
is the main altar of the presbytery, which is raised from the lower church.

Here's a view from the lower church (from Google images), by Willem-Jan vander Zanden.

Walking down from the main altar...our guide then took us to the locked apse.

At least I think this is the locked apse, apparently something not everyone gets to see.
The definition of an apse is "a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome."

It looks more like a crypt to me...but I believe this was indeed the part under lock and key?
And I believe it's behind the main floor, under the raised altar (are you following this?). 

It looks like it fits the description of an apse, right?!
I have a feeling we were very lucky to see it that day.

Back to the main/lower church (with the stairs to the altar), we were left on our own...

to view the side chapels...

and to light a candle for someone.
No, I'm not a Roman Catholic but I'm loving the sentiment behind "lighting a candle" for someone.
It's the meditative action in that moment that is becoming special for me.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On that note, as we left the church, these three keystones showed their faces to us.
What more is there to say??!!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

VERONA 2017: The Roman Theater

As you may recall, we spent 11 days in Italy last year, 7 in Venice and then 4 in Verona.  Our travel agent told us 4 days would be plenty of time to see Verona, but surely by now you can see just how much there was to see.  We covered the bases but...just barely.

Our third day in Verona was packed full of 3 churches and the Roman Theater, plus a flag-throwing show on our way home.  I've already shown you the Santa Maria in Organo church here.  From there we immediately walked to the nearby Roman Theater.

See how close they are:  red dot (church) and blue dot (theater).

Actually, besides the Roman Theater, you also gain entrance to the Archaeological Museum,
both for the price of one...with the entrance right off the main street.

Once through the building to behind, you're confronted with ruins from the 1st century BC.
This is the kind of thing that blows my mind.  BC = Before Christ!

And there it is, the Roman Theater.
In the 1st century BC it would have included satirical dramas by Terence and Plautus.
[Surely I learned about them in Latin class all those eons ago?!]
Can you imagine watching Shakespearean plays there today!

Later, when we took the lift to the Archaeological Museum, we got a better overview.
See how close it sits on the Adige river...

...and how it offers views of the city every bit as captivating as any play/event.

Before taking the lift to the museum, we stopped to see the church of St. Siro and St. Libera.
It was built in the 10th century, restored in the 14th century.

As you can see, it sits at the edge of the theater steps, with the museum to the left behind/above.

To be honest, there wasn't much to see inside but it was worth the look.

You could say this was worth the climb.

After the church we took the lift to the Archaeological Museum above.
It was opened in 1924 in the former convent of Gerolamo, from the 14th century.
More Roman you cannot get!

Because it was originally a convent, there are cloisters (bottom) and a large terrace (top),
with Roman artifacts everywhere.

Again, more Roman you cannot get.
I remember having to learn the names of all the Roman columns in Latin class!

But it was the church of St. Gerolamo in the convent that most captivated me there.

It was a walk-through from the museum to the terrace, but it stopped me dead in my tracks.
See what I mean?

And this was just ONE STOP on a busy day!
Yes, there's more to come....