A completely new adventure happened this summer: I traveled to Italy! It was my first time ever in Europe. Outside of the Americas, I’ve only ever been to India, because my extended family lives there. I went for a course called Medieval Art and Spirituality, studying the (you guessed it) art from the medieval era of Europe, specifically northern Italy. We visited amazing cathedrals, basilicas, and ancient churches. We also went to famous museums and stayed the night in local monasteries.

My favorite was seeing one of Michelangelo’s many sculptures in Florence. This one is “The Deposition.” In it, the deceased Jesus is being taken off of the cross by Nicodemus (or Joseph of Arimethea?), Mary Jesus’s mother, and Mary Magdalene. Observing this piece has the capability of making one cry. It was just stunningly beautiful and emotional. I spent quite a bit of time photographing it. Just around the corner was Michelangelo’s David, but eh, not quite as moving as this one. However, the David was indeed impressive, carved from a single block of marble, is what I’m told.

“The Deposition,” Michelangelo, Museum of Opera of Saint Maria of Fiore. Photo by Radha Vyas

There’s no easy way to describe the cathedrals we visited. They were massive and awe-inspiring. We got to attend mass a couple of times in two different cathedrals. The experience was something else. We couldn’t understand anything because it was all in Italian, but it was still moving. Voices of the songs echoed and reverberated throughout the space, almost making you worship. Just incredible. One time we even got to experience a random organ concert that happened to begin just as we were about to leave. Of course we stayed and delayed our departure!

Siena Duomo, Siena, Italy. Photo by Radha Vyas

There’s so much more to this trip, but it would be a very long post if I were to write about all of it. So until I decide to write again, I will leave you with this, a photo of the dome of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy. Photo by Radha Vyas

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