11/1 – from Salerno, you can get to Amalfi by taking a one hour bus ride down the Amalfi coast. The bus ride was stunning, and I couldn’t resist taking some pix out the window.
It is warm and sunny, and bathers are on the beach and swimming. Happy November! When we purchased our bus tickets, we were informed that today was a holiday, so the buses would run on a reduced schedule. Of course, it is All Saints Day.
Our goal today is the Basilica of the Crucifix, where the remains of the Apostle Andrew reside. St. Andrew, brother of Peter, was a fisherman, and it is noted here that he was the first Apostle. He was originally buried in Patras, Greece, where he evangelized and was crucified on a diagonal cross, then was brought to Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, and finally to Amalfi in the year 1208.
When we reached Amalfi, the Cathedral is the first thing we saw, standing majestically on the square.
Although it was Saturday, there was a mass in progress, so we slipped in the back to participate. A bishop was officiating the service, and after Communion, there were a lot of extra prayers invoking San Andreas. The recessional started up the main aisle, then took a left and headed down a flight of stairs. Where were they going?
St. Andrew’s crypt lies under the cathedral, in a similar configuration to Matthew’s crypt in Salerno. The unique thing about Andrew is that his sarcophagus has always given off a substance, referred to as manna, which is collected several times per year and distributed to the faithful. Today was one of those days! That’s why the bishop was here! Amid prayers and song, the priest opened the gate to the tomb and took out a crystal vial, showing everyone that it contained a small amount of something.
The stuff was sprinkled on a bag full of cotton balls, and blessed by the bishop.
Then the procession returned upstairs, and the cotton balls were distributed among the crowd. We did not get one. We had read about the manna before we came – what luck that we got to witness the celebration!
Here is Andrew’s tomb:
The statue of Andrew over the altar was done in the style of Michelangelo, by one of his students, also named Michelangelo.
The frescos in the crypt were not as well executed as the ones in Salerno, but there were many other artworks to see:
After the Cathedral, we spent the afternoon as tourists, checking out the little shops and restaurants. The nice thing about being a backpacker is that we have no desire to buy souvenirs, as we would have to carry them around for a year!
The ride back to Salerno was just as beautiful as the ride down.
Another gorgeous day!