This blog describes last sunday. It is in order from the Italian vineyard blog.
Sunday was what will most likely be the most interesting and authentic day of our 100 days. We did better than go to church. We saw an actual miracle.
Orvieto was built around a huge Duomo. The Duomo, in turn, was built to house the relic of a miracle which occurred around 1100. A young priest in the area doubted the miracle of transubstantiation, that is he did not believe the bread actually became the body of Christ. One Sunday the priest was saying the Mass as usual, when the Lord decided to strengthen his faith. When the priest broke the bread during Communion, the host bled. The blood dripped onto the alter cloth, and the priest's faith was strengthened. He took the blood-stained cloth to the Pope, who declared the miracle authentic. Because of the importance of this miracle, the Pope declared a feast day, Corpus Domini, which is still celebrated today, on the ninth Sunday after Easter. This past Sunday happened to be the feast day.
The citizens of Orvieto celebrate the feast by hanging banners of their respective neighborhoods around the town. The small town is divided into four by the two main cross streets, and banners of the green tree, red x, blue M, and red shield are seen hanging from every window. Sunday morning, a marching band, legions of drummers, and all the leading citizens gather at the Duomo. They dress in medeveil costumes and form a long parade. The parade is led by priests with a cross, and includes men with axes, pikes, swords, crossbows, and other weaponry. They marched with large tapestries depicting the miracle. All the civic groups, such as firemen, also march. Finally come the knights of the miracle (of which Mr. Barbarani was one), the priests, and the miracle itself. The alter cloth, stained with blood, is encased in glass, mounted on a stand and carried atop a large strecher. They march all through the narrow streets where locals and people and priests from all over the country have gathered to celebrate the miracle of transubstatiation. I have never seen so many priests in one place, although most were young.
We watched the whole thing from the piazza by the Duomo. It was really amazing. All of the costumes were handmade, down to the leather boots. They marched for hours in the hot sun. Mr. Barbarani almost collapsed at the end. We were in narrow, stone-paved streets of a walled medeveil town, watching an actual medeveil feast celebration. A great day.