Sunday, August 19, 2012

I finally gave in...

After almost three months in Italy, I have developed a hankering.  Yes, the pasta is good, but it just seemed like something was missing.  What could it be?

After a walk up St. Leonard's Hill in Verona, which gave me a great view of the city...

....and took me to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes....

...I decided to treat myself.  In one of the main piazzas (Piazza Bra) I found "Cafe Ippopotamo" (yes, that would translate into Hippopotamus)...

  ...and enjoyed a lunch which consisted of a cheeseburger (with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup and mayo), french fries, and a large Coke (with ice)....

 ... I'm okay with being a stereotypical American right now.  It's not the best burger I've ever had, but maybe the best I could find in Verona.  And, most importantly, it's what I needed on Saturday :)
 I was accompanied on this little adventure by James, a seminarian from the island of Saipan (a U.S. territory).  We enjoyed our burgers, spoke English (ooops), and watched classic MTV (summer of 1987).  It was a good day! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The people have spoken...

This weekend, I had a dilemma.  On Saturday, there was one group of friends going to Milano and another going to Padova.  How could I decide between the city of St. Ambrose and the city of St. Anthony?  Naturally, I put the question to my Facebook friends, and they convinced me to head to Padua, a small-ish city about  an hour away from Verona.  It is probably best known as the city where the Franciscan St. Anthony died and is buried.  He is also known as the "finder of lost things" (although I contend that Grandma Jones gives him a run for his money!)  And, his services came in handy.  There were eight in our group, and one, Malek (from Egypt), became separated from us.  But, lo and behold, in Anthony's city, Malek was finally found a few hours later!

 Of course, there are many other interesting things in Padova as well.  Enjoy the pictures.
In the historical center of Padova.  I think this is the "municipio" (city hall).

The Basilica of St. Anthony.  It is a very large church and very beautiful inside.  However, you were not allowed to take pictures, and there were guards and Friars watching!  Inside the church, of course, is the tomb of St. Anthony.  Also inside the church are several relics of the saint, including his tongue!

I'm struck by the many memorials in Northern Italy that commemorate the World Wars.  Along the walls of this church in Padova are the names of 5401 people who died in the city during World War I.

The Duomo (cathedral) is very interesting.  The current structure dates from the 1500's (I think) but has evidently been renovated in recent years as the ambo (above) indicates. 

There's a park with a bunch of statues, and I liked this one...a statue making a statue.

The Church of Santa Guista.  The outside is impressive, the inside not so much.

Of course, when you are in Padova, you have to get a picture with St. Anthony.  Here I am with Tony in the Duomo.

Back in Verona, our group had a (non-pasta) celebratory dinner.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Another Saturday outing was to the nearby town of Mantova.  After the craziness of Rome, Verona, and Venice, I found Mantova to be a nice change of pace.  Situated on the shores of a lake, it is a small town with fewer tourists, a slower pace, and an all-around calmer atmosphere.   While visiting the cathedral, we had to leave because it was closing for the afternoon break! 

Here’s a bit of  Catholic lore that I found, well, let’s just say, interesting.  In the Basilica of San Andrea in Mantova, there is a chapel dedicated to Saint Longinus.  (You don’t seem to find many Longinus’ running around these days.)  According to tradition, Longinus was the Roman guard who pierced the side of Christ at the crucifixion, and was converted when he saw the blood and water coming from Christ’s side.  Also according to tradition, Longinus scooped up the blood-soaked earth, put it in two urns, and brought it to Mantova.  In the crypt (which was closed for renovation) is kept the reliquary with the earth.  Every Good Friday, they are brought out and paraded around the city.  I hope you don’t think I’m too cynical, but I’m left to wonder…Why Mantova?

At any rate, this was a very relaxing and peaceful day…just what I needed.  And yes (for my friend Natalie in Cincinnati) we had gelato at the end the day!

Inside the Basilica of San Andrea.

The Baptistry in the cathedral (St. Peter, I think).  I'm continued to be amazed that a small town like Mantova has so many big churches.  I guess they were all filled at one time.

Architecture that I liked.

Montava definitely had a Medieval feel to it.

Near the lake.  I think it was called "Lake Superior" - kind of like being in Michigan :)

We saw this fisherman and I had to take a picture for my brother-in-law Sean and my cousin Mike.

The main piazza in town.

With Bro. Javier and Sr. Innocenza (from Malaysia).

Notice that I am NOT eating at the McDonald's in the background.  But, a hamburger sounds really good right about now.

What I had with sausage and pumpkin - very good.  This picture is for Bros. Dennis, Norm and Tim back home.