Rice fields in early March during the
season, at Confienzo, a small
in the province of Vercelli
water and minerals from the alps and from
the Val d'Aosta
the main altar of the
From the Vth to the VIIIth centuries Monasteries were those established either by Irish-Celtic monks, or for the most part, Benedictine Monasteries.
Just as we described the City of Aosta over the last months in this blog, with its Criptoportico and its Paleo-Christian Basilica, as an ideal spot to trail the metamorphosis of the early Church from the times of Constantine into the medieval world, few places along the 1000 mile long Via Francigena offer us a better insight into the Christian world Sigeric lived in than Vercelli.
And no other place better to help us track the evolution of the Church from the medieval period to the modern era than the Cathedral Treasury Museum of Vercelli.
The devotion of the Saints, praying for their intercession in Heaven to God on our behalf, has been a very widespread devotion throughout all Christendom up until the Reform and by Catholics even up until today.
When my wife and I visited the shrine of Saint Anthony in Padua back in the 1980’s, she was shocked when she saw their prized relic of their famed preacher: his tongue. The sight of such a gory relic evoked a reaction that she resumed in one word: “Grotesque!”
Many Christians died giving testimony of their belief in Christ: they were called martyrs. Some were tortured, in an attempt to force them to recant. The reliquary is something similar to a Christian equivalent to a Medal of Honor.
Vercelli is an enchanting city, full of culture and history, a lovely place to stay a few days, somewhat off the beaten track of more congested tourist destinations in Italy, where you will probably enjoy a stroll in the park, encounter delicious food and friendly people, that have been welcoming pilgrims, like us, for centuries.