Basilica di Sant’Andrea, Mantua
22nd April, 2010, we left for Bologna from Milan after the night halt there. On the way we halted at two cities Mantua and Modena. Mantua was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 based on its renaissance planning and architecture.
Another reason to halt there was to see Basilica di Sant’Andrea, which is reputed to safeguard the Sacred Vessels that hold ‘the earth soaked with blood of Christ’. The Church closes for an hour and half midday, so we ended up spending more time in Mantua waiting for the church to open. During this period we toured the other must sees there.
The church is huge, dimly lit inside. The sacred containers are beneath a marble octagon in front of the altar. They are taken out for public display and paraded in the town every year on Good Friday. It is believed that Longinus, the Roman soldier who speared Christ on the cross, is said to have scooped up the earth and buried it in Mantua after leaving Palestine.