Thursday, June 1, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 301

The medieval quarter, Bolsena, Italy

This sunny street scene is from the town of Bolsena.  The town has ancient beginnings and was once called Volsinii by the Romans.  It is located in the Italian province of Viterbo, northern Lazio on the eastern shore of Lake Bolsena.  Some scholars believe it may have originally been an Etruscan city.  There are problems with that theory, notably that Etruscan cities were situated on defensible crags and the castle of Bolsena while on a hill is not considered so situated.  There have been Etruscan tombs found near Bolsena.  Objects from these tombs can be found in museums in Italy, the British Museum and elsewhere abroad. 

A Eucharistic miracle is said to have occurred in the Basilica of Santa Cristina in Bolsena in 1263 when a doubting Bohemian priest reported bleeding from the host he had consecrated at Mass.  The blood that fell from the host formed a cross on the tablecloth.  Because of the miracle the priest reconverted.  A year following the miracle, in celebration of the event, Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi.  A relic from the event was placed in a reliquary of the Orvieto Cathedral.  A famous fresco by the artist Raphael in 1512, depicting the event and titled “The Mass at Bolsena,” is located in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City.   Raphael placed himself in the painting as one of the Swiss Guard seen in the lower right of the fresco.  He is the one facing out with bound-up hair.  Also included are Pope Julius II, Felice della Rovere, and four cardinals.

The Mass at Bolsena by Raphael, 1512
[image from: ]

The nearby Lake Bolsena is in a dormant volcanic crater that last erupted around 104 BC.  There are two islands in the southern part of the lake that were formed by underwater eruptions.  The lake water comes from an aquifer, rainfall, and run off.  It is bordered on one side by an old Roman road, Via Cassia that has had some updating in places.  There are campgrounds, historic sites and bed and breakfast inns plus other tourist amenities at the lake.  The noble family Alberici of Orvieto donated one third of the lake to the Catholic church.

Many thanks go to my friend who sent the postcard last October while on a bike tour.  The postcard is an Edizioni Archidee with photo credits given to Claudio Tini.  

For additional information, see:

No comments:

Post a Comment