from the journal of seminarian Adam Kerrigan
The flight to Florence was very short –only about two hours. After we gathered our bags, we were rushed onto a bus that took us to our hotel, where we had about a half hour to get cleaned up before we began our tour of the city with local artist Dony MacManus. Dony has been diligently working to promote true Catholic art around the world. He has an unrivaled knowledge of the art and churches of Florence, so our group was very blessed to have him as our guide.
First, we headed to Santa Croce, which is essentially the cemetery of the great names of the Renaissance. We were able to celebrate Mass in the side chapel, which was mind-blowing. Like those in many Italian churches, the side chapel was very baroque, filled with gold, frescoes, and massive statues. I could have sat in that chapel for hours, but we only were allotted the time for Mass.
After Mass, Dony showed us the museum at the church. It was filled with many works that I had seen in my college art history books. Dony informed us that a great deal of Florence had been damaged by a massive flood in the 1960s. The water damage was evident in certain pieces, like the San Damiano crucifix, which was barely intact.
By then the group was pretty hungry, so Dony led us to the nearest stand offering gelato, which is the Italian version of ice cream. For years, I heard people rave about gelato and how it is so much better than ice cream because it is creamier and more natural. I have heard that it doesn’t cause any weight gain, can solve the world’s energy crisis, and can even be a cure for cancer. Let me tell you, I now believe that it can do all those things. It really is that good! After we finished our gelato, we dodged several gypsies, saw some major sculptures, and went back to the hotel for dinner and an early rest.