Italian Journey

The essence of life’s journey is found in its meaning and purpose, not merely reaching one’s destination.

From May 13 through May 26 we visited Italy. The first part of the visit was with Gate 1 Travel with tour manager Linda L. Linda is the apotheosis of tour managers. She is convivial, anticipates visitors needs and a font of kindness and information.

As I began this journey I realized I had entered a crucible of tension in religious history. One must ask: How did we get from the Gospel of Peace shared by Christ to Crimes Against Humanity when the church gained political power (e.g., realities such as inquisitions, genocides, papal bulls that created slavery and domination of nations to pillage and rape resources)? The Inquisition was not abolished until the 19th Century, and more recently Catholic Church clergy participation in the Rwanda genocide of 1994. I realized the beauty of some of the art was a distraction, or alternative faux reality, the result of more sinister intentions. The following is a photo essay of the high points of the trip including special memories of the experience, juxtaposed against the Light and Shadow of human nature.


Street Scene of Venice
Venice in the evening light
Venice Bridge
Venice Lion
Santa Lucia at Rest
Venice view

Tuscany Evening

We spent an evening of wine tasting and dinner at Villa Machiavelli a transformative atmosphere. A true Tuscany treasure!

Villa Machiavelli

Brief visit to Pisa

From Venice to Florence we visited the Leaning Tower. Pisa is a wonderful place to visit with several features in the Leaning Tower property. Plan to spend a few hours. The church and baptistry interiors are a must to experience as well as the museums.

Positioning the Leaning Tower

Thanks to Nany Barnes, Photographer For this Photo

Leaning Tower
Baptistry – Pisa
Church Ceiling Pisa

I had hoped that the trip would include some moments where a brief moment of solitude and spirituality would ensue. For a few minutes gazing at ceiling art and sculptures offered a connection with the bigger pictures. Pisa did offered some space to reflect and connect with numinous energy.


Florence offers a range of experiences that would require more than our day and a half visit. The Duomo and sculpture and art museums require more time to view than was available. The Basilica of Santa Croce was a wonderful find with memorials to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Dante and several others who have left their treasures and wisdom for history. The city tour was a relaxed and an informative walk through the neighborhoods of the city made the visit enjoyable, in light of the huge number of visitors that fill the city. We were able to experience the ambience of Florence while stopping at important sites along the way.

View from a distance
Statue of David in Park
Pondering visit to Florence
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Side View
Street Dog B & B near the Duomo
Florence Sculpture Square
Florence Sculpture Square 2
Florence Sculpture Square 3
Santa Croce Funerary Lion and Angel
Sample of Art Work

Assisi Views

The visit to Assisi was a pleasant surprise. While crowded and over built, there was a sense of peace. One is able to experience the historical energy of the place while working around the tourist shops. The Church of St. Francis is a spiritual treasure chest of religious art.

Assisi Entrance
Church of St. Francis with Faux Smoke Cloud
St Francis Church Ceiling
Artwork Example from St. Francis Church


Rome is a GREAT city. On the way to the Vatican I reflected on my childhood understanding of the Corporal Works of Mercy as I observed homeless people and elderly women begging. This poignant picture leaves one to ponder church teaching and application. In the midst of great wealth and treasure have we forgotten the directions in Mathew 35? This week (May 15, 2022) St. Charles de Foucauld was canonized and his message from the teaching of Christ was, “As you did to the least of these brothers and sisters you did it me.” This continues to beg the age old questions: Are we responsible for the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters?

Life mimicking art

Vatican City

St Peter’s Façade

St Peter’s Basilica

St Veronica
St Peter
St Peters High Altar
Altar Ceiling
Pope John XXIII
Pieta – Michelangelo
St Peter’s Doorway
St Peter’s Ceiling
St Peter’s Vaulted Ceiling
St Peter’s Ceiling over Main Altar
St Peter’s Altar in Perspective

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel was an experience of wall-to-wall people and difficulty seeing a appreciating many of the master works that had been taken from all continents. The flow of traffic did not allow much time to snap photos. The following are a few of the items I was able to capture.

Portion of a Wall Image-a wonderful sense of azure movement
Statuary with long-views of history
Give this man a hand

Sistine Chapel

A picture of a picture

Picture taking was not allowed so I am relegated to offering a picture of a picture. Walking from the Vatican Museum into the chapel we passed through a door and entered a crowded room with hundreds of others, like pieces of a broken hologram, each of us were looking from a different lens at Michelangelo’s masterpiece. As I was pressed toward the middle of the room I felt like a wobbling weevil trying to gain balance as I looked up to enter into the moment of the creation of humans. I was not so stressed by the crowd as I realized we were all in our own trance space reconstructing our own images viewing and connecting to the stories above our eyes.

The Surrounding Area and Coliseum

Temple with light
Trajan’s Arch
Details of Trajan’s arch
Triune Columns
Structure of the Backstage
Wide View
Distant View

Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon

Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain
Pantheon Front
Pantheon Entrance Porch
Pantheon Ceiling
Pantheon Interior

San Pietro in Vincoli

Michelangelo’s Moses

Moses 1
Moses 2
St Peter’s Chains
St Peter’s Chains Crypt

Basilica S. Maria degli Angeli

Dome Window
Meditative Interlude

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

This church was one of the high points of the journey. Magnificent images with plenty of space to sit and enter into the dreams depicted. These ethereal images literally took my breath away! I was able to sit quietly and enter into the multiple stories of Jesuit encounters across the globe. I also realized that the Jesuits and others embraced the Papal Bulls of the 1400s that set forth slavery and pillage of foreign lands as the missionary standard. In light of the long history of this religious order, this is no doubt the repository of some of the finest art in Rome.

Mirror of Ceiling Selfie George
Mirror Selfie Paul. Note Jacinto’s “deer-in-headlights” facies .
Window beyond time and space
Main altar splendor
Closer view of vault above high altar
Ceiling wonders

Art from Several Museums

Palazzo Massimo National Roman Museum in Rome

Massimo Galleries
The Boxer/Pugilist
The Boxer/Pugilist Front
Posterior of Boxer/Pugilist
Expressive Face
Medusa’s Bad Hair Day
Nature wall
Intersex Figure
Discus Thrower
Image of an out-of-body experience

Amalfi Coast Sojourn

From the Termini Train Station we took a 2 hour high speed train to Salerno and boarded a boat tour of the coast stopping at Amalfi and Positano. It was a mixed sunny and overcast day and a relaxed experience. The two stops involved encountering a large number of tourists through crowded streets. The tour boat captain was informative and provided a leisurely and memorable experience.

Salerno Docks
Leaving Salerno
Community along the way
Amalfi Church
Amalfi area
Leaving Amalfi

We are grateful to Nancy Barnes who shared these photos.

CBT with Pinocchio to fix Truth Mechanism
CBT Failure Leads to Psychoanalytic Consult
Vena Cava

Closing Thoughts and Photos

A couple of closing photos and thoughts. The church San Martino ai Monti – Rome, was most fascinating as the current church sits on several levels of earlier non-Christian and Christian places of worship. I particularly liked the level where the crypt picture is located here, I think it was 4th century. Curiously the Madonna’s model was a contemporary priest known to the artist. This journey was one that forced an encounter with the intersection of alternating realties requiring me to examine my sense of meaning and purpose related to organized religions. The journey was filled with many fond memories and good feelings about the people we traveled with, and a new perspective on great art in the context of historical tides driven by human Light and Shadow in the places we visited.

Crypt of San Martino ai Monti church – Rome, Italy.
Angel Wishing You Farewell

Published by gjacinto

Dr Jacinto is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice working with nursing home clients. having completed an PhD in Social Work at Barry University, MSW degree from Florida State University, MEd degree from College of Idaho, and BS degree from California State University Fresno. He retired as an Associate Professor from the University of Central Florida School of Social Work in 2016. Dr. Jacinto was also an Associate Professor at Arkansas State University, St. Leo University. His focus of research has been in the area of spirituality and social work, Alzheimer's caregivers, LGBT issues, long term care, and macro social work.

3 thoughts on “Italian Journey

  1. Thank you for this collection of photos and comments into the wonders of Italy, for one who has not been there, it offers great inspiration. The visit with Pinocchio brought a smile.

  2. The visit with Pinocchio balances the profound with a note of humor. The blog certainly offers a stunning appreciation for the highlights of a tour of Italy, especially for those of us who haven’t been.

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