FOR THE GUY WHO HAS EVERYTHING: How About a GARGOYLE for Christmas?

Gargoyle - Duomo

Get them while you can:  Milan’s Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, is putting its 135 gargoyles up for adoption.Italy’s “culture budget” is smaller this year; but the Duomo requires essential maintenance, even in a lean economy.  The gargoyle adoption program is an effort to protect the world’s fourth-largest cathedral and, as Cathedral management has stated, “to encourage the Milanese and citizens of the world to be protagonists in the history of the cathedral."I should note … [Read more...]

Two Mary’s! Giotto’s “Birth of the Virgin” Raises an Interesting Question

Birth of the Virgin by Giotto

September 8 is the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary-- and I've got a question for you:  WHY are there two babies in this picture?This painting, titled “Birth of the Virgin,” is by the Renaissance artist Giotto di Bondone (better known simply as “Giotto.”)  It’s one of a fresco cycle on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.Giotto’s work can be seen in the basilica at Assisi and in the campanile (bell tower) of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower … [Read more...]

Summer Snowfall Interrupted: Vandals Spoil the Fun at Rome Basilica

St. Mary Major - Side altar

At the beginning of each of the ten videos in Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” series, there is a scene in which thousands of white rose petals drift downward from the ceiling at Rome’s Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major).  It’s a breathtaking symbol of the “miracle of the snow”—the rare summer snowfall which, according to legend, fell on August 5, 352, on the Esquiline Hill, one of the famed “Seven Hills” of Rome.It’s a scene that’s recreated each year on August 6, when the Ba … [Read more...]


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