Bologna, Ravenna, Florence, and Pisa

On February 18th the Bernardi residence set their alarms for the lovely hour of 5am in order to make it to St. Peter's by 6am for the Consistory. Although it was a dark and early morning, you can't put a price on seeing an empty St. Peter's square, with the sun beginning to shed it's morning light upon it. After a 3 hour wait and a steadily growing sea of people, we gently shoved and ran our way into St. Peter's basilica as soon as the guards opened the gate.
Newly Elevated Cardinal Dolon
The following weekend was a class trip to Bologna, Italy with Dr. Lev. We saw beautiful churches which became even more magnificant after Dr. Lev helped explain the rich history behind each one. Our list of tours include visiting...
-The Archiginnasio: The first Western University, paid for by Pope Pius the IV with the help of Charles Borromeo who was the Cardinal of Milan from 1564-1584. (We are reading about Borromeo in "The Betrothed" for our Church and Culture class with Dr. Boyle so it was exciting to see something that he played a part in.)
-Basilica of San Domenico: Holds the relics of St. Dominic
-San Petronio: The 6th largest Church in the world. Located in Piazza Maggiore. Holds a large fresco from 1415 of "The Last Judgement" by Giovanni da Modena as well as a sundial in the form of a meridian line made in the year 1655. It was made by Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and at 66.8 meters it is the longest sundial in the world.
-Statua di Nettuno: Fountain of Neptune
-Chiesa di Santo Stefano: Known as "The 7 Churches" 
-Santa Maria della Vita: Has a beautiful sculpture by Niccolo Dell'Arca titled "Lamentation over the Dead Christ" and made in 1463. A beautiful piece to reflect upon this Lent. The expressions on the faces are saturated with emotion.
-Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna: An art gallery housing Raphael's Santa Cecillia and the works of Annibale Caracci and Guido Reni
-San Pietro: Cathedral dedicated to St. Peter
     On Sunday, a few of us tagged along with the Duquesne University trip to Ravenna that Dr. Lev was leading. This part of the weekend included lots of mosaics, which were extremely vibrant and illustrative.
Basilica of San Vitale
The following weekend several of us girls spent the weekend in Florence. Knowing that Florence was known for the art, I was unsure of whether or not I would enjoy Florence, because sometimes it is hard to understand the significance of all that I see. However, upon my first day in the city, my doubts had vanished. Visiting the Uffizi and the Accademia was tiring, but rewarding. Seeing Michelangelo's "David" was amazing. I was not expecting the statue to look so realistic, nor be so big. A few of  my favorite pieces from the Accademia include Filippo Lippi's "Madonna With Child and Two Angels," Botticelli's "Venus," "Spring," and "Madonna of the Magnificat." Another great work of art that reminded me of what I need to be reflecting on this Lent, was Sodoma's "Christ Among His Tormentors." This piece of art is definately humbling to see and ponder.
   Aside from the great museums and gelato, Florence is a beautiful city at night. One of my favorite moments with sitting on the steps near a piazza, listening to a man play classical guitar, feeling the cool evening breeze on my face, and watching as the dark of night slowly formed the city into a place to dream about. But the blessing of it all, was that when I opened my eyes, I wasn't dreaming.
Sunday morning, a few of us took a speedy trip to Pisa, where yes... we took the stereotypical tourist pictures :).



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