The Capuchin Crypt in Brno, CZE.

The Capuchins came to Brno in 1604 at the invitation of the Bishop of Olomouc, František of Dietrichstein. For their first monastery, they opted a place in the eastern suburbs of the city, called the Gate of Měnín, and laid the foundation stone in the spring of the same year. The church was dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi and in 1606 it was consecrated by Cardinal Dietrichstein himself. His decoration was supported by the outstanding painter Kosmas from Castelfranco, a priest of the Venetian province, who created not only…

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Verona: why a crocodile hangs in a church.

In the district of San Michele Extra, once a fraction of Verona but currently incorporated in the inhabited center and became a real neighborhood, there are several religious buildings including the Church of Santa Maria della Pace. There are several legends within the walls of the Church of Santa Maria della Pace, including that related to its origin. It was 1517 when the Republic of Venice ordered that everything that all there was within a kilometer and a half of the city walls be demolished. Thus houses, palaces, churches and…

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Matera, Italy: Chiesa del Purgatorio

We are in Matera, the capital of culture 2019: skulls and skeletons are omnipresent in this church dedicated to souls trapped in purgatory. The Church of Purgatory, in italian “Chiesa del Purgatorio” was built between 1725 and 1747 and It, like other “purgatory churches,” was constructed as a place for people to pray for the souls trapped in limbo between heaven and hell. Located just outside the iconic Sassi di Matera, this 18th-century baroque church is curiously adorned with numerous skulls, skeletons, and other death-related decor. On the upper part…

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The “spartito del diavolo” and the mysteries that surround Lucedio Principality. Truth or legend?

As we all know, at the base of every legend there is (almost) always something true, and that human imagination has no limits: it is enough to tell, for example, dark stories of ghosts, witches, curses, infernal rites, to give veracity to events happened (perhaps) a few centuries before. Thus, the presence of a strange musical score frescoed in an Italian church, according to research done by me and another collaborator, would seem something unique: here music assumes demonic valences, in which the notes, depending on the sequence in which…

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Basílica del Voto Nacional: the largest neo-Gothic church in the Americas.

We are in Quito, Ecuador: constructed on San Juan Hill, the Basilica del Voto Nacional looms over the city and can be seen from anywhere in Quito, and it is the largest neo-Gothic church in the Americas. According to a local legend, the world will end if construction of the basilica is ever officially completed. In 1883, Father Julio Maria Matovelle, after years of persuasion, began drumming up support for the construction of a massive basilica in the heart of Quito. The president was enthusiast the project, and Congress designated…

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Switzerland: Leuk’s secret Charnel House~

Can you imagine? For centuries no one knew there were hundreds of bones and precious artwork hidden beneath this church in Switzerland! The quiet streets of the village of Leuk reveal little of its history, but a walk inside its medieval structures is an interesting step into a mysterious past. Leuk is a small town in Switzerland’s Rhone Valley mostly known for the thermal spa to the north, but the town’s history dates back around a very, very long time ago. It seems that the first church was built around…

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