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    Holy Hot Spots in Italy

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    With a newly elected Pope, it’s the appropriate time to reminisce about some of your favorite Holy places to visit in Italy. While some are quite obvious (yes, the Vatican is included) others are slightly out of the way and may not be on every tourist’s list for destinations while in Italy.

    Vatican City

    While all of Vatican City is quite impressive, wandering around the basilica and through the cast halls of the Vatican can be quite an experience. For me, it was the Sistine Chapel that was the first time I was awestruck by a piece of art. I could lean back and stare at that ceiling all day long. Some visitors may skip the Castel Sant’Angelo, located just outside the palace walls. This is a mistake. Originally built as a mausoleum in 135 AD for Hadrian and his family, this fortress is extremely impressive when you’re wander around the inside with a distinct feeling of dread and solitude.

    Florence Duomo

    One of the most famous structures in the world, partially due to the many movies that it is featured in, the towering marble Duomo in the center of Florence is sure to wow anyone who sees it in person. Outside of the Duomo is the baptistry which features the famed, intricately carved Gates of Paradise. Such an incredible structure with intricate detail, yet a simple facade is a must-visit.

    Orvieto

    While the exterior of the Florentine duomo is what takes your breath away, the interior of the Cathedral in Orvieto is nothing short of spectacular. Located in Umbria, this tiny city has great wine and this structure in the center of the town is sure to amaze all who walk through the great central hall. This Cathedral was glorious enough to make Orvieto one of the first places where a Pope spent time outside of Rome.

    Assisi

    This tends to be a forgotten about or ‘we just didn’t have time’ area of Italy for tourists. Assisi is te birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208. The hillside village is definitely cloaked in a feeling of religious peace and solace. It is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon if you want to get away from the bustle of the Italian cities. There is a touristy element, with gift shops and whatnot, but still manages to salvage the holy feeling.

    Milan

    The Cathedral of Milan is not to be skipped over when discussing religious locations in Italy. This enormous structure, the fifth largest cathedral in the world, looks almost evil with it’s Gothic design. With construction having started in 1386, this Cathedral the actual Cathedral was not completed until the 20th century. Due to the huge cost for upkeep, the management of Duomo has offered up Gargoyles for adpotion. For a measly €100,000 you can have your very own gargoyle and get your name inscribed on the building.

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