As great as it is to be in Rome and as many cool ancient Catholic stuff there is here, Rome is still a big city, and for those of us who aren’t city people (and even some who are) the dirt and sweat and crowds start to get to you after a while.
Last weekend, Fr. Justin, one of our chaplains at Bernardi, took our whole group on a day trip to Perugia for their annual chocolate festival and then to Assisi. It was wonderful to get out of the city and experience Italy outside of Rome.
The only thing I had heard about the chocolate festival was that there was a lot of chocolate involved, which certainly turned out to be true. The streets were filled with tents selling chocolate in any and all forms.
Fr. Justin gave us a tour of Assisi, full of all things Fransiscan. Unfortunately the chruches in Assisi are very camera shy (NO FOTO!) so I don’t have pictures inside any of the churches, but we got to visit the tombs of St. Francis and St. Clare in their Basilicas, the convent where St. Clare died, and the cross which came alive to St. Francis telling him to rebuild the church.
We also visited San Rufino, where Francis and Clare were baptized, and stumbled upon a choir recording a musical about the life of St. Francis.
Ciao! Today, This is Jacqueline. I have plans to see Bernini’s famous “St. Teresa in Ecstasy” and explore some other random churches. Last time I did this, I stumbled across the oldest Christian mosaic in the world which was pretty awesome!
Classes have been going well. I saw the oldest surviving written Italian in the world yesterday. This is a typical day with Dr. Lev. The week before in class we went under St. Peter’s Basilica and were able to kneel beside the tomb of St. Peter. Then from the tiny room which held the body of such a powerful Saint we walked up into the grandeur of the basilica where we were surrounded of the masterpieces of geniuses like Michelangelo and Bernini, as well as the tombs of people like Pope St. Gregory the Great and Bl. Pope John Paul II (soon to be St. Pope John Paul II!). There is an incredibly overwhelming amount of beauty and holy presence in the Basilica.
Outside classes we have also been exploring. Two weekends ago a group of us went to the beach at Ostia Lido. It was wonderful to get out of the busy city for a little bit. Despite Italy’s temperamental weather and forecast of rain, the sun was shining and the water warm. We swam, waded, collected sea shells, tanned, and some highly motivated people did a little homework.
This past weekend we visited Perugia for their chocolate festival. Imagine every street filled with the smell of everything chocolate! It was basically a small taste of heaven on earth. After that we went to Assisi. I had heard only good things about Assisi and it still surpassed expectations! But that will have to wait for the next post!
Here are a few pictures from the beach.