Italy – 4

7-29-06

I have finally decided to venture out on my own. I’m already a month into the trip, but sadly, this is the first time. It’s been surprisingly wonderful! Having literally NO time completely to myself in the past two weeks, I can feel myself becoming easily frustrated and losing patience quickly. So I took the afternoon off. I am writing from a cafe in the center of Milan called Passarella Cafe. I think it actually may be the first time in my life I’ve ever gone and eaten somewhere on my own. Needless to say, I’m generally not the type to enjoy going places by myself. Surprisingly though, today has been quite wonderful! I’ve had time to think, pray and clear my head – time to escape, even if only for a few hours, and explore this magnificent city.

Though it will be so much better when my Eric is here, I’ve enjoyed these rare moments alone. After buying a map of Milan and manuvering these ancient streets, I visited an incredible art gallery called Li Pinacoteca di Brera. Now I’m eating pizza con pomodoro, mozarella e prosciutto in peace and quiet – except for the bustling city that is.

Courtyard of La Pinacoteca di Brera

 

Milan is a metropolis unlike any I’ve seen in my life. It is the ultimate marriage of ancient and modern. An ageless and intricate duomo, surrounded by motorbikes, business people and shopping malls. A thousand year old statue surrounded by tourists with digital cameras.

This striking contrast is part of what adds to the intrigue. Not to mention, Milan is known worldwide to be home of the world’s top fashion houses, including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and my love – Missoni! While I am much too poor to shop at any of those places, I made a lengthy stop into my favorite vacation shopping destination: H&M. After a  few more Italian boutiques and a cunning shop called Intimissimi, I was thoroughly pooped.

I am now sitting inside the Cathedral Duomo in the heart of Milan. It is the largest, most magnificent church I’ve ever seen, and the third largest cathedral in the world. An organ playing the Doxology echoes through the cavernous space, floating in and out of massive stone columns and up through the finely-carved ceiling. In between each column is a 15-foot fresco depicting the times of Christ. Now, there is a choir singing “Gloria, In excelsis deo”. Hundreds of white candles are lit in reverence atop an impossibly long carved oak table along the left of the space. An illuminated crucifix hanging from the center of the altar commands the attention of those attending mass. Behind the altar and and all along the entire church are brilliantly colored stained-glass windows spanning from floor to incredibly high ceiling. These windows tell sacred stories; Christ carrying the cross to Calvary, Christ’s death, and His incredible resurrection.

As opulent and breathtaking as this cathedral is, as small as I feel sitting inside it, I sit here in silence, reminded that it is not carvings nor ornaments, candles nor crucifixes that make a place sacred. Rather, the people gathering to worship there are the most sacred thing in or outside of a church. People are Christ’s true church, and He dwells within us.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julia Tavis
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 11:55:00

    Mir — you MUST post photos with these magnificent blog posts! It would increase the readers’ experience ten-fold!

    Reply

    • miriambernard
      Sep 13, 2010 @ 16:37:39

      I deffffffffinitely plan to, but the computer on which my photos are stored is currently without a power cord. I’ve gotta buy one on eBay, then I’ll be all over the photo posting! For now, everyone will just have to use their imaginations. 🙂

      Reply

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