The glorious interiors of major Italian churches are well known, but don’t overlook the modest little village churches – they have surprises of their own, so make sure to look up!
When we are in a new place for the first time – whether it is a new country or a city – we generally find ourselves just focusing on the distinct and noticeable points of interest around us. However, there are always local treasures to discover and some of them can be easy to overlook.
I come from a thoroughly Irish Catholic background, so have spent more than my fair share of time in churches. I’m very lapsed these days so my visits have been few and far between but, when in Italy, I duck in and out of them as frequently as my time will allow.
With a devout Catholic culture in Italy, there is no shortage of Italian churches – from the small local churches in villages, to the massive edifices in the cities. When the traveller enters one of the big cathedrals it is with an expectation of lavish, overt, physical displays of devotion – and, with their precious fittings and noted artworks commissioned by long-dead bishops, they seldom disappoint. However, I discovered that a great many of the smaller, nondescript parish churches warrant a visit too.
These modest houses of worship may not have had the benefit of the largesse of wealthy patrons, but the locals still had a trick or two up their sleeves. I’ve been utterly gobsmacked by some of the ornate decorations, often on the ceilings, of these little Italian churches, so have made a point of sticking my head in the door and looking up.
These images were all taken on my smart phone (I generally feel uncomfortable snapping with my big camera around any place of worship) and posted on my Instagram account. The lighting is often a bit dodgy in churches, so I usually edit the shots using free apps also on my phone. I’m no photographer, but am very pleased with these photos – they are a testament, not only to Italian devotion, but also to the cleverness of modern technology.
I suspect the nuns who taught me at school would also be pleased about them – at least they’ve got me back into church.