Thursday, March 29, 2018

VERONA 2017: The Santa Maria in Organo Church

For years now, in both past and present lifetimes, whenever I travel to other countries, I always buy the relevant DK Eyewitness Travel book to enhance the travel experience.  To be's because of the photos!

I already had a DK book on Italy but it was Astrid who found a more specific DK book on Venice and the Veneto that would also cover Verona for our 11 days there.  Bingo.

See that shelf of DK books (top-right)?  YUP.
But this book, had only one paragraph and one photo for the Santa Maria in Organo church.
A chicken????  YES.  But with this HELLO:
"Some of the finest inlaid woodwork to be seen in Italy is in this church."

You first need to know that there's much interest in my family of origin with marquetry
because of furniture inherited from my maternal grandparents.
I love this stuff.

So off we went to find this very special church (red dot).

The original 6th-8th century church was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1117.

As you know, I always start with the nave...

...and its altar.

Then I turn around 180° to see the organ, which is usually in the back.
(Hmmmm.  Where's the pulpit?)

Then up, to see the ceiling!

Who thinks up these things!

As we often say on our Shutterchance photoblog, "Always look up!"

Side chapels in these churches also amaze.

As do the simplest of impressions everywhere you turn.

But as you know from the outset, I was there in this church for the chicken!

So, enter the sacristy!
All around the top half of the walls and ceiling are murals.

The bottom half is cupboard fronts with marquetry (inlaid wood).

The artist, an Olivetan monk, was Fra Giovanni, an architect and craftsman from Verona,
who spent 25 years, from 1477-1501, working on these exquisite pieces.

But that's not all....

When you leave the sacristy for the choir behind the altar,
you pass the wooden sculpture of the "Musseta" (little she-mule) from the 14th century...

...and then you enter the choir, with more marquetry from Fra Giovanni.

I used to sing in choirs throughout my youth until middle age.
Could I have ever imagined this?

25 years of incredible patience and craftsmanship!
Who wants to sing??

I would have given this much more than one photo in any travel book!
And now you know I'm dying to say it:  "Which came first, the chicken or the....!"

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

To all who celebrate this Holy Week,


  1. One can almost hear the echos of the centuries of voices. I enjoy the sacred spaces I visit with you Ginnie.

    1. Yes, indeed, Marie. And thank you, again, for joining theses journeys!

  2. Oh wow. You nailed could that book only show one image of all this amazing beauty! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I know, Robin, but I'm glad they showed at least something and made a special point of writing about the best in-laid woodwork in all of Italy. It was definitely enough to get my attention! Thanks for following along for the ride. And HAPPY EASTER weekend to you.

  3. Absolutely stunning details!! Wow just wow.

    And what is the significance of the chicken, do you suppose? Maybe I've heard and forgot.

    1. I have no clue, Ruth, but it makes me smile to think there may have been jokes about it way back then??? "Jesus uses the hen and her sheltering wings not only as a metaphor for his desired relationship with Israel but as a symbol of Christian love conceived in the image of a mother's love for her children......"

  4. Who would have thought that we found a treasure just because you found that chicken, Ginnie..... This was something I never saw before with such beauty made with such dedication. What a place to be, what a church....
    hmmmm the egg of the chicken.... I think I go for a soft-boiled on a Sunday-morning... IHVJ.

    1. LOL. It's so all started with the chicken in my DK book! :) I do look forward to our soft-boiled eggs every Sunday. Thank you for that.

  5. all that MONEY that goes into the catholic church, to hire people for 25 YEARS... unless it was all donated work... which it probably was... i would like to live in a church... maybe not a catholic one lol.. once we found an old church for sale in another province, i tried not to think about it lol coz it was not doable...

    this church is very beautiful, and BUSY... thank you kindly for the tour... i like the entry on a donkey of Jesus... imagine that donkey has bragging rights in heaven :)

    1. I have always said that these Catholic churches in Europe are like museums for me...and I mean that sincerely. Don't even get me started on that..... But truly that's why we visit them...our way of visiting museums, most of the time for free!