The Camino of Saint Francis: Poggio Bustone

Update: for the whole story of today’s trip, please see the next post.

The medieval streets of Poggio Bustone.

The gate to the medieval city where Saint Francis entered and greeted the residents with the words, “Buon giorno, buona gente.”

Frescoes inside the gate.

Looking from the city through the gate.

Sunset in Poggio Bustone.

My new friend Meno helping me.

A view of Poggio Bustone from Saint James.

The sign of the cammino as we entered the sanctuary of Poggio Bustone dedicated to Saint James.

The sanctuary of Poggio Bustone dedicated to Saint James.

The Camino of Saint Francis: Day One

We arrived at the airport early in the morning and took the Leonardo Express airport train to the train station in central Rome. That was the last express transit of our day because we waited for three hours for a local train to Reiti.

Waiting for hours in Rome for our train connection.

We had difficulty finding the platform because it took us took us about 15 minutes to get the platform and they only posted 20 minutes before. The local train got us as far as Terni and then we had difficulty finding the platform. It was to the west of the station. Was it the express to Marrakesh? It had that hippie look with urban graffiti even covering the windows. The train looked like it was destined for the junkyard however much to our surprise there were four Filipino sisters getting on board with big boxes and yes they assured us this was the train to Rieti.

We finally arrived around 4pm and we were exhausted. We found our hotel the Miramonti and took off for our city walk.

Our hotel.

View from the hotel room.

Our first stop was the Basilica of Saint Augustine which dates from the 12th century.

There were remnants of 12th century frescoes.

We then took a walk outside the old city walls.

Entering the city again and began searching for the of umbilicus or navel which Italians consider the center of Italy.

We then discovered the Central Square with many folks enjoying the afternoon.

We then proceeded to cathedral which is a Romanesque structure with baroque overlay.

To the left of the cathedral was a monument to Saint Francis.

At the end of that square was a 12th century that was a papal residence.

The main altar.

The pulpit.

(Closeup of this altarpiece).

Saint Barbara. This was possibly designed by Bernini. If you enlarge the photo and look closely, you can see a cannon beneath her feet, as she is the patron saint of artillerymen, and of Rieti.

The crypt.

Of course, afternoon gelato.

For dinner we found a great restaurant, the Bacchus, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with a lively conversation with the chef setting and the owner chef.

In the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi

Today, June 5, Father John Peck and I will fly to Rome and then take the train to Rieti. From that little town in Umbria we will begin our walk to Assisi. We will cover about 15 miles a day on foot from little town to little town associated with Saint Francis of Assisi. We will be heading north from Rieti to Assisi and enjoying the countryside and various sites that Saint Francis visited during his lifetime.

The towns we plan to visit are marked on this Google map.

Gazing Heavenward in the Holy Sepulchre

Everywhere you look there are wonderful representations of the faith in the Holy Sepulchre. Here is some of what you see, gazing heavenward…

In the Greek church, you can look up and see mosaics including the Archangel Michael.

In this picture you can just glimpse the top of the dome, showing Jesus, Pantocrator.

Jesus, Pantocrator, at the top of the dome.

Saint Matthew, in a pendentive:

Saint John, in a pendentive:

The dome over the Edicule.

Under the dome, the Edicule, built over the tomb of Jesus.

The Ethiopian monks at the Sepulchre. There are little monastic settlements on the roof and they live up there.

To read more about the Holy Sepulchre:

Priest Rescues Priceless Manuscripts in Iraq

“Many of the documents in Michaeel’s collection are written in ancient languages including Aramaic, Latin and Ottoman Turkish. They date back centuries, if not more. The oldest is at least 1,100 years old,” said Father Najeeb Michaeel. “Michaeel’s collection isn’t limited to Christian texts. There are works on ancient astrology, geography and history, as well as manuscripts belonging to other religions including Yazidis and Muslims.” Read the rest on the OP/[Dominicans]’s website, and see this video of Father Michaeel looking at and reading from some of the priceless manuscripts.

The Walls of Constantinople

There is an excellent video on the walls of Constantinople, explaining how and why the walls were built. It includes reconstructions of what the walls would have looked like and how they were a defense of the city. This Walking the Walls post now has the video posted. Take a look at the post to see what the walls look like today, then to the bottom of the post to see the video.