Sunday June 7 – Corpus Domini
Today was the day I was supposed to go to Florence but after finding out about the procession that was to take place in Orvieto and the importance and uniqueness to it, I chose to stay and watch. And boy am I glad I did.
“…this day is celebrated the miracle of the Sacramental Bread, the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena. Tradition has it that in 1263 a Bohemian priest, Peter of Prague, going to Bolsenastopped to celebrate Mass at the altar of St. Cristina. The priest was plagued by doubts. He did not believe possible the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. During the consecration a miracle occurred: blood gushed from the communion bread.”
I always wondered what the significance of communion was when I attended Catholic School so to learn a little about it and to watch the people of Orvieto come together not only to dress up and participate in the procession but also to watch was really cool. There were thousands of people out and it was just so amazing to continue to see the culture existing in this small city. The locals dress up in these crazy intricate costumes to walk through the narrow, cobblestone streets (in 90 degree weather mind you and for over an hour and a half), representing different areas in the city, different businesses, the hospital, the church, etc. I can only imagine how much of an honor it is to be involved. And plus, my new American friends and I got the best seat in the house. Right outside the Duomo. 🙂
The bottom right in the picture on the right is the Holy Relic. It was so worth standing in the beating sun for an hour and a half to not only see the whole procession but to see the Relic.
Now what we didn’t realize was how difficult it was going to be to get around the city after the procession had passed us. Trying to get to lunch at a restaurant that was right in the middle of the procession was one of the more screaming “we are Americans!” situations than I would have liked. After squeezing ourselves to the walls of the buildings on the narrowest streets you could EVER imagine trying not to get in the way of the procession, we finally made it to the restaurant. I ordered an Italian sandwich that was probably the size of my head. And yes, I ate the whole thing. No food left behind in Italy. No way.
It was nice to chat with these girls who were studying art in Orvieto through Gordon College. They had been there for 4 months and were actually leaving the day I was set to leave. I couldn’t help but be absolutely, insanely jealous that they had spent so much time there. Oddly enough, none of them really picked up the language which was weird to me because by the time I left, I was beginning to pick up on more words and was starting to feel comfortable hearing the language AND trying to speak some myself, but that didn’t go too well. It’s the effort that counts, right????
After lunch I was seriously needing a siesta. All that standing in the sun was exhausting! But seeing how it was such a gorgeous day and I felt the need to move around in order to digest a bit, I decided to go on a walk. I let my instinct guide me and it was well worth it. At this point I had only explored the main part of the city and this one running trail my host recommended. This time, I decided to get “adventurous” and walk down a random road on the other side of town.
On my way down I heard a dog barking and my heart literally stopped for a moment. I am PETRIFIED of getting attacked by dogs. I proceeded cautiously, not knowing what I would do if it charged at me but when I looked to my right, there was this tiny little thing that didn’t seem to want to do much more than bark. I reached the end of the road shortly after and turned to walk back up. As I pass the same house I hear a second dog, see them running, bolting actually, right at me. DEAR GOD I AM GOING TO GET EATEN ALIVE!!!! They ran right at me, sniffed me, decided I was OK and chose to walk with me. It was the cutest thing ever, especially after thinking I was going to get eaten.
Shortly after I returned from my hour and a half walk, which by the way was heaven (everything about this place was and is heaven. That’s the word of the trip in case you haven’t noticed), it started to get slightly suspicious of rain so I bolted home, showered and went out to dinner to the same place as lunch. Sitting alone in the corner of the restaurant, writing, reading and of course drinking my Orvieto Classico, I couldn’t help but feel completely at ease. I felt even BETTER when this came…
OH MY GOD IT WAS HEAVEN!!!!!!! Two slices of classic bruschetta and one with pear and gorgonzola and covered in deliciously fresh olive oil. Holy hell. I could have bathed in the olive oil it was so good. I have never eaten so slowly. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want ANYTHING I ate to end. It was so satiating that I didn’t feel a need to eat anything else. I contemplated getting dessert and figured since I hadn’t had a cannoli yet, I may as well get two mini cannoli to go.
It was the ONLY thing I ate there that I almost didn’t want to finish because the shell was soggy but I ate it anyway. 🙂 I am, to say the least, a cannoli SNOB and I should have known better than to get mini cannoli. I made up for it a few nights later.
Shortly after I went to bed full and happy. Another successful day of feeling as though I was in heaven was complete. I couldn’t help but start to think about the number of days left until I had to return to the States. I pushed that thought out of my mind about as fast as it came. Monday was to be the first day I ventured outside of Orvieto. Comfort level was challenged.
Until next time! (I promise it wont be another two weeks before I post again!)
Very very cool Kara. Everywhere you go in Italy history and religion just leap out at you. There is so much to learn there thanks for sharing