Last Saturday,in Saint Peter basilica, I saw something very special.
Due to lent celebrations, there was a procession inside the church following a special mass and the relics were on display on the main altar of the church.
It was the first time I happen to see it and was fascinating by it.
The balcony housing the relic of the Veronica, the true image of Christ, was decorated with a purple drape and the door of the special room was open too.
On Easter Sunday the resurrection is celebrated with a Holy Mass and the Benediction ‘Urbi et Orbi’ held by the Pope in Saint Peter square.
At home Easter involve a breakfast with boiled eggs, salami and hot chocolate.
The Easter lunch includes lamb and fried artichokes, and of course chocolate eggs and the dove-shaped ‘Colomba’ cake.
In Italy we say: ‘Natale con I tuoi e Pasqua con chi vuoi’: Christmas with your family, Easter with who you want.
Easter day is when we have our amazing and never-ending traditional meals with friends and family alike.
Holy Friday is dedicated to the recollection of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.
The solemn commemoration of the Lord Passion occur at 3.00pm all over the world while in Rome the ceremony takes place at 5.00pm.
The Pope held the Mass in St. Peter Basilica at 5.00pm..
Later on Good Friday, at 9.00pm, the Pope goes to the Coliseum where he presides at the Stations of the Cross, a popular Catholic devotion which entails the recollection and re-enactment of Jesus bearing the cross to Calvary
This is the day when Christians commemorate the institution of priesthood and of the Eucharist.
On Holy Thursday morning the pope together with a thousand of priests celebrates Mass in Saint Peter Basilica. This celebration is known as the ‘Chrism Mass’, since, during it, the oil of chrism used for baptisms and ordinations is blessed.
Throughout the world the clergy gather with their bishops and renew the promises they made at their ordination.
Traditionally on Holy Thursday evening, the Pope crosses the city to his cathedral, St John in Lateran, for the evening celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Mass commemorates Christ’s institution of the Eucharist on the night before he died.
The holy week is one of the busiest week of the year in Rome. Of course it starts with Palm Sunday and end with Ester Monday known in Italy as ‘Pasquetta’.
There is a wonderful range of ceremonies and customs all over the city to prepare for the Christian celebration of Christ rising from the dead at the first Easter.
Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter Square, presided by the Pope, is one of the biggest event in the city’s religious calendar.
The flower characterizing Easter week is the ‘Violacciocca’ or ‘Viola di Pasqua’ honestly I couldn’t find the English translation but here are the pictures.
This flower has an extraordinary and intense smell. You can easily find it in our homes in Easter time.
It marks the very beginning of Ester celebrations: everyone attend the morning masses and receive the olive branches that we give everyone we meet during the day.
The use of bringing the olive or the blessed palm into our homes has a devotional origin and represent a wish for peace.
The great event is the Palm Sunday and Passion of the Lord Papal mass in Saint Peter's Square, at 9:30:
At 12:00 the Pope held the Angelus and the blessing ‘Urbi et Orbi ‘from the benediction loggia in Saint Peter façade.
Easter week in Rome is very busy. There are many Papal celebrations in the Vatican.
Travelers that wish to visit Rome has to remember that the visit of Saint Peter Basilica can be difficult, while the Vatican museums are closed on April 2nd.
The liturgical calendar and activities of the Pope in 2018 Easter week :
Great activities this morning in Saint Peter square.
Gardeners all over, little trucks going in and out the passagway guarded by the swiss Guards.
Tomorrow there will be Palm Sunday mass held by Pope Francis in Saint Peter square and therefore the square will be embellished by palms and Olive trees.
The tapestry is characterized by the simultaneous creation of the fabric together with its decoration.
The tapestry makers pass the colored threads of the plot on the warp threads fixed on the loom.
It is an intermediate workpiece between picture and embroidery. The figures are superimposed on existing tissue in the embroidery.
The name ‘Arazzo’ (cloth of raza) comes from the town of Arraz where the best tapestries were produced in the Middle Ages.
The fourteenth and fifteenth century marked the heyday of the tapestry technique.
Several factories specialized in the production of tapestries in Europe producing artworks for the aristocratic or ecclesiastical patrons.
A splendid image of the original accommodation of the tapestries woven in the 15 hundreds in Bruxelles from cartoons painted by Raphael. The pope Leo X committed these priceless works to ornate the side walls of the Sistine chapel.
Santa Maria Antigua, is a tiny church located in the roman forum, at the foot of the Palatine hill just below the Domus Tiberiana.
It’s a sixth century A.D. church with remains of fresco decorations dating from the Byzantine time until the middle of the 9th century.
It is considered the Sistine Chapel of a thousand years ago being the place where to study the evolution of art along 2 centuries.
The emperors Constantine, ruling over the western empire, and Licinius ruling over the eastern roman empire in 313ad met in the city of Milan on occasion of the wedding of Licinius with Constantia, Constantine’s sister.
The meeting took place in the splendid imperial palace and in that occasion administrative instructions were sent to functionaries throughout the empire.
They were aimed to reinforce a decree issued by Galerius in 311 which gave the Christians the status of a legitimate religion. The two emperors ordered also that Christian communities were returned all their properties.
Later historians named it ‘Edict of Milan’.
In Easter week there are many celebrations in the Vatican. Travelers that wish to visit Rome has to remember that the visit of Saint Peter Basilica can be difficult, while the Vatican museums are closed on April the 8th and 9th.
The liturgical calendar and activities of the Pope in 2017 Easter week :
Sunday April 9th
Palm Sunday and Passion of the Lord
Saint Peter's Square, at 9:30: PAPAL MASS
at 12:00 Angelus
Saint Francesca is one of the most venerated roman saint and the patroness of the Romans.
She lived in Rome at the beginning of the 14th hundreds.
Francesca Ponziani belonged to an aristocratic family and accepted to get married even if she wished to undertake the monastic life.
She was renewed for the care and asistence she paid to the sick and humble people.
She manage to accomplish her family duties and find time to assist the needy and pray.
After her husband passed away she finally took the votes.
Michelangelo was a man inclined to ascetism.
In many of the letters he wrote to his relatives at home he remarked his poverty and strenuos life.
Giorgio Vasari report about the simplicity fo his clothes annd his reluctance to change them.
Condivi, Michelangelo's biographer, add that he often worked so hard that he had no food or sleep.
First of all tickets for all Papal ceremonies are issued free of charge. If some agencies or guides charge you for the ticket they are dishonest and against the spirit of the Pope.
To attend a Papal Audience the ticket is required but not compulsory for individuals. Pilgrims and groups write the Prefecture of the Papal Household ahead of time to advise of their participation, hence their name will be listed and they will be introduced to the Pope. A precise info is also needed to place the correct number of seats in the square.
However if you don't have the chance to get a ticket ahead of time you can join the audience entering the square even when the Audience has already started.
I've done it several times with guests that expressed the desire just on the touring day.
How to get the tickets
Below there are different options:
The Prefecture of the Papal Household
or Santa Susanna American Community in Rome.
Get your ticket the day before asking the swiss guards in saint Peter square or at Sant Anna gate.
More info about meeting the Pope
The legend of Michelangelo being a lonely painter taking care of the strenuous work of painting alone the 12.000 square feet of the Sistine chapel is not true.
When Michelangelo got the commission he was an extremely skilled sculptor but initially lacked familiarity with the complex fresco technique.
He also had still in mind the project of the tomb of Julius II and it’s believed he wanted to delegate a large part of the pictorial execution to assistants.
Michelangelo got a Florentine friend that he trusted: his name was Francesco Granacci.
The 2 artists had studied together in Ghirlandaio workshop and in the garden of San Marco, that Michelangelo eventually entered thanks to Granacci's advise. Granacci never begun a very renewed painter.
He was unambitious, an easy living man and had a relaxed temper. In fact he specialized in less important decoration as theatrical scenery, banners for churches and knights, triumphal arches for parades.
Granacci’s lack of desire for glory was engaging for Michelangelo. Granacci easily acknowledged his supremacy, there was not artistic competition.
He entrusted Francesco Granacci to recruit the assistant he needed in Florence.
The two painters had very distant personalities. Raphael was sociable and courtly while Michelangelo was a solitary man.
We know they once met in Saint Peter square: Michelangelo was alone, while Raphael was surrounded by many pupils and admirers.
Michelangelo said to Raphael: ' you, with your band, like a bravo'
Raphael replied: 'and you alone, like the hangman'.
It’s one of the most incredible places in Rome and often unfortunately seen just as a corridor, no matter how beautiful and long, to the Sistine Chapel.
In my opinion the Map Gallery is worth itself a visit to the Vatican museum.
First of all, it is over 400 years old.
Along the gallery there are 32 large maps depicting the different regions of Italy facing either the west coast, on the left inside, or the east coast, on the right end. From south leading north. The accuracy of the maps painted there is amazing if we consider the lack of technology of those days.
Next Sunday, April 27, 2014 the greatest popes of the XXth century will became saints.
There is a great excitement on town and lots of people exploring the city.
A large number of streets surrounding St. Peter square has already been closed to parking and will be not accessible to the traffic starting from tomorrow.
I'm walking to the Vatican museum entrance surrounded by large groups of smiling pilgrims heading to St. Peter basilica. It's only 8.30 in the morning!
This blog is aimed to share with you my Roman experiences, reflections and researches.