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ITALY - Thousand Skies
Cascia, Italy Cascia is a municipality of the province of Perugia in Italy. It is located in the southeastern corner of Umbria (region of Central Italy). A large shrine in honor of St. Rita was built after her canonization in 1900. Cascia was her hometown. The territory of Cascia today was the home of the Roman settlement of Carsulae, which was destroyed in the 1st century BC by an earthquake. Cassino, Italy Cassino is the site of the Abbey of Monte Cassino which was founded by St. Benedict in the year 529. The Abbey of Monte Cassino has been destroyed four times and was ultimately rebuilt in 1964. Cassino is located in a valley at the foot of Monte Cassino and Monte Cairo. Because of its location, it becomes foggy and chilly during the winter and warm and humid in the summer. Florence, Italy You don’t need to pay for museum fees to see great sculptures. The city is peppered with breathtaking statues! The city of Florence covers 39.54 sq. miles of 102.4 km2. It took approximately 140 years for the Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral) to be built. Construction started in 1296 and ended in 1436. Norcia, Italy Norcia is a town in the Perugia province in the region of Umbria in Italy. It is traditionally known by its Latin name, Nursia. The earliest traces of human settlement in Norcia dates back to the Neolithic age with the settlement of Sabines in the 5th century BC. Norcia is the birthplace of St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica. The Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia is built over the ruins of the houses of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. Pisa, Italy It took about two centuries to build the Leaning Tower of Pisa (176 years to be exact). Construction started in 1174 and completed in 1350. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not the only leaning building in Pisa. Included in the list are the Campanile of San Nicola (bell tower of the Church of St. Nicola) and the Campanile of San Michele degli Scalzi (bell tower of the church of St. Michele dei Scalzi). Due to various attempts to cure the lean, the tower has leaned in different directions, initially to the north and then to the south. Rome, Italy Rome is also known as the “Eternal City”. It is also called the “Caput Mundi” which means “Capital of the World” in Latin. The Romans invented concrete which was used to build the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum, among others. The coins tossed in the Fontana de Trevi are donated to Caritas, a Catholic charity, to help the poor. About 3,000 Euros are collected every night! Subiaco, Italy The renowned Sacro Speco (sacred grotto) can be found in the Abbey of St. Benedict who lived in a cave for three years as a hermit. The Abbey of St. Scholastica, which is a mile and a half away from the grotto, was originally built by St. Benedict. The first books in Italy were printed by the German monks who were assigned to the Abbey of St. Benedict. Vatican, Italy The center altar (Baldacchino) of the St. Peter’s Basilica is directly over where St. Peter (first pope) is buried. The Pieta was only moved to St. Peter’s Basilica 200 years after it was commissioned by a French cardinal for his funeral. The Swiss Guard, hired as a mercenary force, is responsible for the protection of the pope. They are highly skilled and trained marksman composed of Swiss citizens. Venice, Italy Gondolas are made from eight different wood species and there are about 350 gondolas on the waterways of Venice. They weigh around 600 kilos and measures up to 11 meters in length. The biggest canal in Venice is aptly named the Grand Canal. It divides Venice into two regions and is lined with 170 buildings. Venice’s symbol is the winged lion of Saint Mark. Additionally, Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica) is the most famous of the city churches in Venice. It is located at the eastern end of Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)