Rome – Day 7: Umbrian Edition

We had Mass this morning, with the pilgrims, a votive Mass of the Holy Trinity, at Ss Trinità dei Pelegrini, which seemed fitting.

Then we found our bus for Orvieto!

My View For Awhile:




I’ve been here quite a few times, but it always makes my heart beat faster to approach the cathedral from this side street, to see the view grow.


Okay… the photos posted out of order, but we can pretend that this is a Quentin Tarantino film.

An assortment of antipasti… various things smeared on bread (mushrooms, lentils, liver, tomatoes) and in the center panzanella.


No, we did not dash out for a view of the cathedral during the antipasti.

This glorious thing is probably the most beautiful cathedral in Italy.  The reliefs on the facade make this a must visit.


They depict the history of salvation, from the creation to the final judgment.


The fall of Man.  Notice the very wicked grinning snake!  Notice how they hide from God!


Lorenzo Maitani, et al., deserve a place in heaven for these reliefs.

And just look at that.   I was so pleased that we had a glorious blue sky.


In the Cathedral, you find the corporal upon which the Host miraculously bled, which inspired the Feast of Corpus Christi and also this building. In the chapel we knelt and prayed for bishops and priests whose faith is weak. Across from that chapel, is the chapel in which you find the finest work of Luca Signorelli, including his harrowing scene of Hell and the Preaching the Antichrist, in which the Devil embraces a figure who looks just like the Lord, but whose eyes are crossed as he listens to the Devil’s lies whispered in his ear. The panel I find the most interesting is the Resurrection. Angels blow trumpets and figures begin to pull themselves, draw themselves forth from a perfectly flat white plain, which seems to me to represent Prime Matter. As their forms are infused they take shape and gain flesh. Some of the newly risen help others up out of the formless matter. They are all 33 years old, the years of Christ, and perfect.


I saw this advertisement on a shop window. Gratifying.


Back to food.  I ate Peter Cottontail in a sauce of herbs.  He was very tender.

Tender… nice.  I didn’t even have to snap his backbone and bit through the fur, though I was just about hungry enough.


A slightly better view. Yes, the wine was a Sagrantino di Montefalco. Yum.


Meanwhile, I learned a new Italian word today. Who knows what they sell there… hmmmm…


A lovely statue of Our Lady of Sorrows in a small church in Orvieto. This is in the church where the Extraordinary Form was offered on Sunday.


It’s the electric lights around her that do it for me.

And the pilgrims returned home, not too tired, well fed physically and spiritually, and happy.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. I hope you’re feeling better now, Father.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I may have to avoid this blog for the next few days as it’s becoming a near occasion of envy – particularly those delicious presentations of bunny.

  3. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Did you see the Signorelli chapel, with the Antichrist and the General Resurrection that so impressed Michelangelo?

  4. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I should have waited until you posted all your photos before making my previous post. And glad to see the Sangrantino di Montefalco. I’ve found it hard to find in America; folks should give it a try in Italy.

  5. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Sid beat me in asking on the Signorelli/Angelico frescoes.

    But did you see the Bolsena Chapel in the opposite transept with the quotations from St. Thomas Aquinas on the Eucharist? A doctoral student of mine wrote on it in her art history dissertation.

  6. Uxixu says:

    Looks like a wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing, Father.

  7. Xmenno says:

    I would move to Orvieto tomorrow. Your photo of the facade of the Cathedral is very good. I have never seen a picture that really captures the colors. Thank you for not showing a picture of Italian hot chocolate – that would have been overwhelming!

  8. rodin says:

    You are feeling much better, yes? Good! Prayers answered.

  9. samgr says:

    Improving one’s outlook in Orvieto, especially after climbing up from the depths of St. Patrick’s Well, is the house-made ice cream from the shop to the left of the Duomo, Gospel side that is, at the edge of the hill. It’s a wonderful town with wonderful people, and food to match.

  10. jameeka says:

    That “hiding from God” image is so amazing–was it really done in the 1300s?

  11. jameeka says:

    That “hiding from God” image is so amazing–was it really done in the 1300s?

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