Pilgrimage in Italy


Today, I am starting my three to four week long pilgrimage in Italy, following the footsteps of St. Francis (1181-1226). My point if departure was the sanctuary La Verna in Tuscany, where I also stayed overnight.

Basilica of La Verna

Basilica, where the robe, the staff and other utensils of St. Francis are stored and can be seen.

Piazza in front of the Basilica

The whole place is magical!

The sanctuary is built on vertical rocks by Andrea della Robbia, who also created masterworks of ceramic reliefs.

Crucifixion in the Capella delle Stimmate. I love the the depiction of brother sun and brother wind referring to his Canticle of the sun compised by St. Francis.

I was mostly intrigued by the wild, archaic nature the sanctuary is surrounded.

Stairs were leading down into the canyon of Sasso Spicco. It is believed that at the entrance the cabin if St. Francis once stood.

In the morning, I climbed to the top of Mt. Penna, referred as the most sacred mountain on earth. It truly has a special energy.

Masso di Friar ( brother rock)

After leaving this fantastic place, I hiked down to Pieve Santo Stefano, a tiwn along the Tiber. For about 6 hours, the path was leading me through silent forests, and open meadows I passed bushes of blackberries, ripe, black elderberries sloes and rose hip. All the time the yellow sign of the Tau showed the way.

Pieve Santo Stefano

Like on all my pilgrimages, I take poems wih me. This poem by Mary Oliver is one if my favorite:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

It would be great if you could walk with me.

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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