One major observation, while abroad, is the immense difference between churches in Italy and churches back home in American, specifically in Wisconsin. Churches here are charming, the walls, ceilings and altars are covered with breathtaking, beautiful, unique art. There are amazing pulpits that are carved with wonderful detail illustrating the stories of the bible. As I walk through the doors of each breathtaking church I am grateful to be here in Italy during the wonderful holiday season.
The dominant religion in Italy is catholic. During my time abroad I have visited over 50 churches. Every church has been catholic besides one. I have attended many masses at the catholic churches in Italy. Some have been in Italian, other in Latin and even a few in English at Florence’s Duomo.
I am also fascinated by the wonderful stories. Each church is named after a saint. Most churches have information boards that have historical facts and a map of the church. They have Italian on one side and English on the other. I always enjoy reading the wonderful stories about each church and learning about the saint it is dedicated to.
Many cities in Italy seem to have their own duomo. Duomo is the Italian word for cathedral. I have visited the Florence Duomo many times, as well as, the Siena and Lucca Duomos. My favorite was the Siena Duomo. It was covered from floor to ceiling with spectacular marble designs and stories. The floors are only uncovered in September and October. They are covered with cardboard the other ten months of the year to preserve the intricate marble designs. I was very fortunate to go in October when the floor was unveiled. We also went to Rome this past weekend and attended mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was magnificent.
The church visits and learning about the saints has been one of my favorite parts about my time abroad. I will certainly miss the charming churches and beautiful artwork they are filled with.
Brittany Mazemke is studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy.