First off, a little business. Since I fell off the blogging wagon for the last few weeks, Italian Month will be rolling right along into August. Wee! I figure since I still have approximately 7238239 photos to share, and no trips planned for the foreseeable future, we might as well keep this party train going. So, to the pope!
It’s probably safe to say that everyone knows that Italy has some gorgeous churches and cathedrals. And today you don’t even need to go to Italy to see them thanks to this magical thing we call the Internet. For my money though, some of the best parts of Italian churches can be found inside, and for once, I’m not talking about vaulted ceilings (though I love them), or stained glass windows (also lovely.) No, this time I’m talking about art that’s a little more… arts and crafts than Neo-Gothic.
While in South Tyrol, we took a drive and spent an afternoon walking around the lovely town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. During the ski or summer seasons, I’m sure it’s packed with tourists but since we were early (or late, depending on your preference), it was nearly empty. Our first stop when we reached the town center was the lovely Baroque-style Basilica Minore dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo (got all that?)
As you can see, Cortina was hoppin.’
The Basilica’s interior perfectly matched its exterior; it was all pale shades, frescoes, grand columns, and saints peering down at you. Plus there was the usual assortment of grand paintings, relics in ornate caskets, and (my favorite) gorgeously carved woodwork. But that doesn’t sound very arts ‘n crafts, does it? Nope.
On our trip to Tuscany a few years ago, we discovered that every little church we stopped in had an elaborate nativity scene. Some of them were even coin-operated; insert a coin and lights sprang to life, music played, and the figures moved. They spanned the range from professional to primitive and were endlessly fascinating to us. Of course, I didn’t take any pictures of them at the time, but you know… the next trip.
Since May is decidedly the wrong time to see Christmas decor (unless you have particularly lazy neighbors), I was happy to find something maybe even better.
I give you… Pope-dioramas! (Pope-oramas? Nah.)
I love these so much it’s absurd. And to be clear, I am not in any way, shape, or form making fun of these. I think they’re fantastic. And lest you think our crafters forgot the big JC, have no fear…
Now the big question. We were there at confirmation time and in a few churches we did notice some signage that clearly had been done for/by the new confirmation class. So, were these also done by a particularly crafty confirmation group? Or is this what the priests get up to on Tuesday afternoons in between hearing confessions? Anyone have some insight? Let me know in the comments!