15 June 2012
another day at the abbey
A week later I was back at the abbey again. This is the Bramante cloister from the top of the stairs, the stairs being the original ones buried by rubble when the building was bombed.
Contrary to popular opinion, large parts of the abbey were undamaged in the bombing. Even the altar in the Basilica was undamaged. I have heard that the altar in the basilica is on the highest point of Monte Cassino, the site of the original pagan sacrificial altar.
The floors below are intact in their original state. It is surely a huge tribute to the construction of the building that so much of it remained intact.
The centre photograph is a rare peek into the sacristry on the left hand side of the Basilica.
It is nice to see things are a little more relaxed there these days, with people even sitting and eating picnics on the steps, something strictly forbidden until recently. The doves are enjoying the difference, becoming as cheeky as seagulls on a New Zealand beach!
You can take a virtual tour of the abbey here.