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ITALIAN & INTERNATIONAL PATRONS VISIT THE PONTIFICAL SANCTUARY OF THE HOLY STAIRS
by Ludovica Mazzitelli
On Saturday November 15th, a gorgeous and sun filled morning greeted the Italian & International Patrons and guests from Florence, even as far away as Catania, together with the Romans in Piazza San Giovanni commenced an exciting and spiritually enlightening visit to the Holy Stairs, the Scala Santa. The group met with Chapter Leader/co-founder Sabrina Zappia and Project Coordinator Mary Angela Schroth for an interesting introduction on the area of the Lateran, Sixtus V and the Scala Santa. Mary Angela led the group into the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Scala Santa and up to the Sancta Sanctorum, the first Papal Chapel, built in 1277, a Gothic frescoed room that was part of Ancient Patriarchate. It was restored by Maestro Bruno Zanardi in 1993, under Vatican Museums supervision. Here the group received a compelling history of the Chapel by Father Ottaviano D’Egidio, Passionist and Superintendent of the Sanctuary.
With Father Ottaviano and Mary Angela leading the way, the group entered the Chapel of San Silvestro, which represents the first stage of the restoration project and completed in 2006 with the support of the Getty Foundation. Maestro Paolo Violini, Project Supervisor and world-renowned fresco restorer (his projects include the Sistina and the Raphael rooms), made a surprise appearance and shared his behind-the-scenes stories about his role in this project, guiding the group next to see the current Patron-supported restoration of the Chapel of San Lorenzo, which will be finished at the end of this year.
Finally the group descended into the secret garden of the Scala Santa for a view of a part of the Eternal City that even many Romans had never seen! After viewing the on-site sculptures there, the Patrons entered the studio of Tito Amodei, Passionist and contemporary sculptor. Our visit ended in the gallery Sala 1 where the Italian & International Patrons gathered for a wine tasting, compliments of Bele Casel, and a presentation of the 2015 Wishbook.
The Chapter extends its appreciation and thanks to Father Mark Haydu, Mary Angela Schroth, Father Ottaviano D’Egidio, Maestro Paolo Violini and Tito Amodei for making this wonderful visit to the Scala Santa possible.
Sabrina Zappia & Amy Gallant Sullivan
Italian & International Chapter Leaders