Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Though I'm generally not a fan of organized religion, I am a huge fan of churches - mainly of the external architecture, but sometimes the internal art and architecture, too. And while I'm not enough of an architecture buff to know for certain, it seems that as striped churches in Italy go, Liguria is the place to go to find the most magnificent variety.

The black-and-white striped church on the right is in the Cinque Terre town of Monterosso. A busy and well-touristed town, it seems a challenge to get a moment alone with this charming church during normal business hours, so to speak. I was in a thick crowd of gawkers on a weekday in May when I snapped this shot.

In contrast, the church on the right in Camogli is delightfully difficult to reach, and I was entirely alone with it. I'd spotted it on its hilltop perch from much lower down in town, and asked a group of local men how I might get up there. They pointed out the route and explained that it was connected to a monastery.

The next week I promptly got sick and all but gave up on seeing the church up close on this visit to Italy. But, by the grace of God perhaps, I felt strong enough on my last day to make the trek. I did it in honor of my youngest brother, who I'd found out a day or two before was in the hospital with a mysterious and virulent pneumonia. I'm agnostic, so I thought it would be nice to make the climb and say a prayer for him on the off chance that it might actually help.

I'm happy to say that two weeks later, my brother was released from the hospital to recover at home. He's still recovering and I like to think that in some small way, my visit to this pretty, sunny-striped church and the prayer I said for him there is part of why he's cruising comfortably back to good health now.

Location: Liguria, Italy ★

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