Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Sunday 2019: A BBQ and a Walk Down the Sacro Monte

Easter Sunday, 21 April, 2019

Today would be another great day in Lombardia with two items on the agenda.

First up was a BBQ at the home of Nicolas Principi and his mother Paola in Tradate. 

The second agenda item of the day would be a walk down Varese's Sacro Monte to work off some of the expected 50,000 calories that we would be ingesting at a typical Italian BBQ.

On to Tradate . . .

As usual, Nicolas and Paola were
perfect hosts and had everything
ready for the day in Easter colors

The table was set for 13 people as we would be joined by Nicolas' girlfriend Marta and her family.

Marta's Grandmother at the
far end of the sumptuous table

Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Nicolas did a great job BBQing only God knows how many kilos of a wide variety of meats.

All of the wine, beer, fruit, pastry and dessert dishes were equally amazing and bountiful as well.

We did so much eating and we were engaged in so many interesting conversations about food and wine, what else, that I, for once, took few photos of the day.

Marta's father, Gianni, had a long series of talks with me and gave me some great insights into wine that I greatly appreciated for future purchases.

 Mike and a couple of Paola's and
Nicolas' nine dogs

 Mike trying to stave off an
impending post-BBQ food coma

Some old bottles in
Nicolas' wine cellar

The BBQ was FANTASTIC and lots of fun for Micheal and I!

We really appreciated the invitation to join in as these two families celebrated the most important day on the Christian calendar sharing food and drink in a beautiful home.


Because we were so health conscious, we figured that we took in a mere 42,000 calories at the BBQ but, even so, that planned walk down the Sacro Monte was needed for both spiritual and health reasons.

The Sacro Monte or Sacred Mountain sits atop the mountain that overlooks the Villa Skorpions II.

The Sacro Monte was laid out in the 17th-century, the culmination of a late 15th-century idea by Franciscan priests as an alternative to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The religious importance of this particular mountain dates back to 389 A.D. when St. Ambrose, then the Bishop of Milan, consecrated it to the Mother of God and celebrated the Eucharist atop this very mountain to thank Mary for a victory over the Arian heresy.

Today the Sacro Monte's walking path consists of three archways, 14 chapels celebrating the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and, finally, a beautiful Sanctuary on the top of the mountain.

We opted to take the bus up to the . . .

. . . funicular that whisked us to the
top of the Sacro Monte

Once there, we proceeded
to walk down the Sacro Monte's
wide, cobbled pathway as we visited
the Sanctuary, the Chapels and the Arches

On the way to the Sanctuary

It is a bit of a climb from the Funicular Station.

Micheal in front of one of Varese's
finest dining establishments

Lake Varese in the distance

 Michael in the Sacro Monte's
narrow lanes

People do indeed reside on this mountain.

But mostly it is about religion

I love the decorative art

Me getting artsy

Michael was getting artsy too

The Santuario di Santa Maria
del Monte's Bell Tower

Being Easter Sunday, we had to enter the beautiful Santuario that is the crown jewel of the Sacro Monte.

Such detail

Jesus' Presentation in the Temple

I'm guessing that this is God
checking out who showed up today

The Slaughter of the Innocents

A Sun/Son worshipping monk


The scourge's three thongs represent belief in the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Chapel of the Saints

This chapel is dedicated to St. Catherine and St. Juliana, the co-founders of the convent affiliated with this Sanctuary.

St. Catherine, on the left, with
St. Juliana

 Hey, her head is

Killing those first born sons

Enough about self-flagellation and violence . . .

. . . let's start our walk down the
Sacro Monte

Heading towards a chapel

Michael with the Santuario's
Bell Tower way back up the
Sacro Monte

We are about a third of the way down the mountain at this point.

The St. Ambrose Gate
is coming up next

St. Ambrose
wielding his ever popular scourge

 What a face on this statue inside
one of the chapels along the way
down the mountain

Another chapel scene

Who is that at the far window?

An aqueduct runs through here

 This lion should really brush
his teeth more often

 My favorite chapel based
on outward looks alone

How shallow of me.

A majestic looking chapel

 What happened to his nose?

I wonder why you never see female angels depicted in the religious art world?

 As we got lower down the Sacro
Monte, the homes got grander

Don't drink this water

 At the end of our walk down
the Sacro Monte

Michael with a fresco of the Sacro Monte,
path complete with Chapels, above him

We still needed to get back to the Villa Skorpion II once we finished our mini-religious pilgrimage.

We opted to keep walking instead of taking the bus down the hill.

It was a beautiful, wisteria filled path

The two of us in the lower
left corner of this traffic mirror

 Grand homes indeed!

 I liked this smaller house over
the huge manor homes that were
built for Milan's elite back in the day

Once back home but still battling the post-BBQ food coma, I opened my computer to find that Laurie had sent me a photo from the long ago past.

I would guess that about 65 years ago,
I was NOT a big fan of the Easter Bunny

It was a wonderful Easter Sunday with friends and Michael.

We are truly blessed.

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