Pursuing the Precursor

June 16-26, 2018

Trip Highlights

Visit the Grande Museo del Duomo in Florence, with Mons. Verdon, the museum’s director

Take a day trip to The Abbey of Saint Galgano, a Cistercian Monastery built between 1218-1288. The Cistercians often built their monasteries close to rivers (the Merse in this case) and along important thoroughfares. Famine struck the area in 1329, followed by a plague in 1348. By the end of the 15th century the monks left the abbey and moved to Siena. Presently, the roofless walls of the Gothic style 13th-century Abbey church still stand. Nearby are the Hermitage of Monte Siepi (1185), the tomb of Saint Galgano and the purported site of his death in 1181, and the sword said to have been planted in the ground by Galgano. In the 14th century, a rectangular chapel was added, which later had frescoes added by Sienese artist Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Experience Florence on the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint. Medieval Florence considered St. John the Baptist as the “symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness”* on whom they aspired to build its economic fortune and good government of the Republic. The image of the saint was even stamped on the city’s currency, the florin. Hence, the day has been a day of celebration for the city through the centuries. Every year, for St. John, the city organizes several cultural and folkloric events that end with the magnificent fireworks show, called i fochi di San Giovanni by Florentines.