I came to Padua to see Giotto’s masterpiece, the Scrovegni Chapel, but I discovered a really amazing place. I found a charming city with lovely streets, elegant architecture, fun sights, and locals out enjoying a pleasant fall weekend in the numerous parks and piazzas. While Venice, its neighbor in the Veneto region, gets mobs of tourists, I realized that Padua definitely deserves a few days to explore and rewards its visitors with an unforgettable experience.
Posts tagged ‘churches’
Besides seeing the amazing architecture and artistic decorations of the church itself, visiting religious sites always gives me the opportunity to learn about cultural practices. Major destination churches teach me what it means to be a pilgrim by watching how people interact with the place. Maybe more so than regular tourists or travelers, pilgrims understand the personally transformative aspect of their trip and want share it with others after they have returned home.
The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a holy place for all Christians and as a result, you have a lot of unique worship practices and customs coming together there. Still, everything is rooted in a deep faith and desire for connection to the divine in the church, no matter what language was spoken. Whether through prayers or “making” souvenirs, I also saw a deep commitment from all pilgrims to bring the holy experience back home with them.
Rouen, France has a beautiful medieval core with wood and plaster buildings slumped and crooked from centuries of settling. There are several beautiful medieval churches led of course by the grand Gothic Cathedral. But when it came time to commemorate Rouen’s most famous Saint, Joan of Arc, the city erected a thoroughly modern church – L’église sainte Jeanne d’Arc.
A list of the greatest Gothic Cathedrals in the World is going to be dominated by the French greats: Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Chartres, Amiens, Riems and Rouen. Since cathedrals, with their cavernous interior space and organic ribbing, are places to be explored and experienced, I always make time for a long visit! Rouen Cathedral in Normandy is a spectacular example of the High Gothic (mostly) style and well worth gazing at and wandering through.