Simple, Stone, Sacred

“I never tire of going into Italian churches. The vaulted arches and triptychs, yes. But each one also has its characteristic blue dust smell, the smell of time. The codified Annunciations, Nativities, and Crucifixions dominate all churches. At the core, these all struggle with the mystery of the two elementals — birth and death.”

Chiesa di Santa Maria, Monteriggioni.jpg

“As much as I love the great frescoed churches, it’s these plain ones that touch me most deftly. They seem to be the shape and texture of the human spirit, transformed into stone and light.”

File:Duomo di fiesole, interno.JPG

Angled view of the brown, stone facades of the front and side

Quotes from Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Image Credits

  • Photo One: exterior of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni
  • Photo Two: interior of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni
  • Photo Three: interior, Duomo di Fiesole
  • Photo Four: exterior, Duomo di Fiesole

9 Comments Add yours

  1. I agree with Frances Mayes, I much prefer the plainer Romanesque churches with their beautiful architecture, too often hidden under Baroque flummery.

  2. The churches in Italy are so much a part of the country’s stunning architecture. And the feeling one gets when entering is tremendous. We are lucky they have been built so well that so many have survived over the ages.

  3. Annmarie says:

    Stacy, not far from us here in Montalto delle Marche (you can see a photo on my last blog post) we have the Church of San Tomasso – where the relics of Saint Thomas Becket of Canterbury eventually rested after English King Henry 8th raged against the Catholics a while back. It’s a very plain church, but you would be amazed to see the turnout on his feast day – they have to remove all the seating so all the devoted can fit inside to offer their prayers. That in itself is very moving. There are only 500 people living in this little town.

    1. That would explain why there is a church, or ex-church, of St Thomas a Becket in Ancona.

    2. What an amazing tribute!

  4. Annmarie says:

    (One priest I know referred to himself as being in the business of “Hatch, match and despatch”. Ha!) Beautiful. Italian churches are wonderful places of contemplation and meditation, so important now as ever in our troubled and complicated human lives.

    1. well said all the way around.

  5. Paul Williams says:

    Never yet found an Italian church that doesn’t have something beautiful to offer. 🙂

  6. Kimberlee Carlson says:

    Thank you for sharing..

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