Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Italy: Pope Parade

The congregation quickly quieted right before mass started in St. Mark's Basilica.  We strained our necks and scanned the church trying to figure out what captivated everyone's attention.  We then heard shuffling and looked to the left to see... it was unbelievable...

The Pope?!


The Pope walked around the inner walls of church and then, within arm's length, down the center aisle.  I instantly became holier.  An angel's halo formed above Ben's head.  Forgiveness washed away our sins.

We barely contained our excitement.

Until... we later learned it wasn't the Pope.  Bummer.  It was actually a cardinal, but we didn't know that until we found someone who spoke English about 90 minutes later. Oops!

The cardinal and other religious leaders marched in a ceremony around the Piazza San Marco after mass.  We took pictures even though we had no idea about their titles or the meanings of their clothing.

Here are a few snapshots.  The first picture is of the cardinal who we mistook for the Pope.  Easy mistake, right?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Italy: Attending Mass

I've never considered myself a risque dresser.  I hardly push the envelope in the wardrobe department.  There was that one time in college on Halloween... but, come on.  I was 23 years old and only worked it because I knew that it was all downhill from there.

So, imagine my surprise when an old Italian lady swatted and shooed me for revealing my shoulders when entering St. Mark's Basilica in Venice.  My shoulders.  My New York side took over immediately and I not only shot a dirty look back, but shooed her as well.  Take that, Nona.

I expected a dress code at St. Mark's Basilica, a huge Roman Catholic cathedral.  I just didn't foresee it being quite so conservative.  Who knew the shoulders could be so titillating?

Luckily, I packed a sweater that passed inspection.

We settled into two seats near the middle of church. Mass hadn't started yet, so we took pictures to document everything.  After a few pictures, a woman in front of us turned around and swatted at our camera while shaking her head no.

How many inappropriate things could we do?  How many Italians would we offend?  I guess a lot. Typical Americans.

Below are outside and inside pictures from St. Mark's Basilica.