Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Give them the finger

Delicate frescoes cover the walls of Galatina’s Basilica of St. Catherina d’Allesandria: armored knights from the crusades, Christ and his disciples, angels that seem to hover in the vaulted arch above the altar. It all seems so refined, so intricate – especially for a 13th century church that is said to have been built to house the finger of St. Catherine. Legend has it that the powerful lord Raimondello Orsini visited the saint’s remains in the Sinai, bent to kiss her hand and bit off the finger, supposedly now housed in the church museum. (It was closed when we visited.)

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