Saturday, October 16, 2010

Milan

On our first full day in Milan, we left our hotel early in the morning and headed to the city.  After sitting in traffic the day before, we were all anxious to see Milan and walk around for the day.  Our first stop was the Basilica of Saint Ambrose. 

The Church was built by Saint Ambrose in 379.  We toured the church for a while.  Behind the altar of the church lie the remains of Saint Ambrose.   After visiting the church we made our way over to the Duomo.  Before arriving at the Duomo though we stopped for cappuccino and a mid morning snack. 


After walking a short distance, we arrived at the Duomo.  The building itself is magnificent.  Pictures cannot do it justice.  There is so much detail in every part of the exterior, even the towers that cannot be seen very well from the ground.  Visitors have the opportunity to climb to the top of some of the towers but it was raining so we did not think it would be worthwhile. 


Before going in the Duomo we took a few group pictures in front of the church. As in Rome and Siena, there were a great number of pigeons outside the church in the square. 


The inside of the Duomo is just as magnificent as the exterior.  The ceilings are so tall, it makes you realize how small you really are, it is humbling in a way.  The most interesting item in the cathedral is above the altar near the ceiling.  Three is a red light identifying the place where a nail used in Jesus’ crucifixion is. 

After exploring the church, we went down to the baptistery beneath the church.  This was the place where Augustine was baptized by Saint Ambrose. 

The church has been built upon for centuries.In the 4th century, the baptistery would have been the ground level.  We renewed our baptismal promises since this was the place where Augustine was baptized.  This was a very cool experience because this place is so rich in history; we had an experience that not many people have the opportunity to experience.   The baptistery was amazing because so much of it was still intact; there was still a lot of the basic structure that was undamaged.  There was also a great amount of historical items down there as well.  There were old coins, jewelry and other items that were from the 4th century. 



After visiting the Duomo we went to the get lunch at the auto grill next to the duomo.  We had to eat a quick lunch because we had to get back to the bus in time. 

After lunch, we headed back to the bus to go back to the hotel.  We had a little bit of free time back at the hotel before heading over to Cassago Brianza for a tour of their grounds and evening Mass in their Church. 

Cassago Brianza is reputed site of Cassiciacum, where St. Augustine and his friends, his son and his mother, went to prepare for Augustine's baptism following his conversion. The museum of the Association there, focuses on the life of St. Augustine and the artifacts they have collected deserve attention from every student of Augustine.

What was really impressive is that the Association is comprised entirely of lay people who are committed to the legacy of St. Augustine and the Augustinians. Everyone who worked in the museum and those who took care of the area had so much knowledge about their work, and they were very passionate about it! 


After Mass and the tour, we headed back to the hotel for our last dinner in Italy together. 

Like every other meal we  had during this trip, the food was amazing.  It was really nice to have one big group celebration before leaving, especially with Kathy dancing to Shakira. 

After dinner we all prepared for our early morning.  We were leaving for the airport before 6am.

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