Day Ten


Day Ten was January 6th, The Solemnity of the Epiphany. In Italy this is not transferred to the Sunday and it certainly looked like it might be a Holy Day of Obligation. Because the Mass yesterday had been so beautiful we decided to try it again. This time we would go earlier so we could get all of Morning Prayer before Mass. Either because it was a Saturday or because it was a Solemnity there was no public celebration of Morning Prayer. So we just enjoyed the silence. But then the bells started to ring. The Bells were incredible. It was such a beautiful, marvelous sound. It was clear that it was a major feast. After a bit more silence we began to hear the swish, swish of many feet in the old stone church. It was a rather large youth group entering the church and filling all the spaces, and much to the humor of my companions two young men with guitars sat down on the steps only a few feet from where I was sitting and proceeded to discuss with two priests what they would do for the Mass. Ok, well, it was clear that we were not going to get the beauty of the previous morning, but we certainly got the fervent singing of these two. Mass began, but it was not the entire flock of Franciscans as the previous morning, just three or four concelebrants, and they all seem to be somehow attached to this group of young people. Mass proceeded well. It was celebrated in Italian. One song we recognized as Silent Night.

After Mass we headed back to the other side of Assisi for our third breakfast at Gran Café. The proprietor there was getting used to us and was generous in his hospitality. Afterward we headed back to the Guest house to check out, load the car and get on the road to Siena. That is the reason that there are no pictures from this day as it was another travel day.

The first adventure of the day was buying gas. We lost 20 Euro in a machine that took the money but did not dispense gas. On the highway we found a station that was staffed by people who pumped the gas and were a bit more successful there.

The drive to Siena was uneventful, but the arrival into Siena was an adventure. We did not really have a good map, and I was going by memory on the directions that were somewhere in that bag that we contributed to the Italian underworld. We did a complete circle of the old city at least once, asking for directions at least three times. Finally one police office said to look for the San Marco gate and that seemed to help. Once inside we saw signs for the Hotel Duomo. That did not stop the penchant for going around in circles because we came upon a point that clearly we had been to before, but the Hotel was not to be found. We retraced our steps a bit more slowly and discovered that the entrance to the Hotel was simply a doorway. The sign for the hotel was inside the doorway. There were no signs outside that indicated that we were at a Hotel. The other thing was parking. We were, after all, in a narrow medieval street with traffic and there was no place to go but to get to the left as far as possible so we could park and unload the car. We were to discover that our very modern hotel was in a building that had originally been erected in 1148.

After getting checked into the Hotel, and getting the car to the place where the hotel has parking, we proceed to find lunch. We happened on a place a few doors down from the Hotel called Duo Parte and we dined there for several hours. It was to become a favorite place and we would dine there twice more in our short stay in Siena.

After lunch we walked down to Il Campo, the central square of the City. On the way we stopped into the Cathedral, the Duomo, which for all practical matters is really a museum that occasionally has religious services. First of all the Cathedral is incredibly overdone. I think the word we used for it was “ugly.” The four of us would agree that it is probably the ugliest church we have ever seen. Also it was just a bit offensive to have to pay to enter a church. The Il Campo was more entertaining. The local fire department was having a festival in the square and it was crowded with people. The kids were led up the fire ladder so they could jump on to the giant cushion below. In another part of the square they could operate a fire hose to put out a “fire.” We did some shopping in the nearby shops and I purchased a bit more from the pottery collection. It was generally a carnival atmosphere. We walked over to St. Dominic’s to check out the Mass times for the next day, a Sunday, and then went back to Duo Parte for Dinner. This time the place was jammed by a crowd of noisy young people. Later we returned to the hotel to retire for the night.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on January 29, 2007 1:41 PM.

Day Nine was the previous entry in this blog.

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