Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2004-2005

as life's hectic non-stop party threatens to get out of control and really exhausting

Kristin's April 2005 visit to Switzerland (and Italy)

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Locarno and the Centovalli

Back into Switzerland on the scenic route home: here's a rainy market day in Locarno, the Piazza Grande on an April Saturday with the tourist train.

The Piazza Grande is Locarno's centre, just 5 minutes inland from the decorative lakefront and steamship piers

Locarno's Museo Archeologico on the right, continuing back into the Castello Visconteo beyond the end of the alley

The Castello Visconteo, a 13th century fortress built by the Visconti dukes of Milan but badly damaged by an invading Swiss army in 1513.

Castello Visconteo on a grey day

Walls of the castle with the Museo Archeologico behind

Sixteenth and seventeenth century streets of the old town, some 40 meters up the hill from the lakeside

Locarno's kids have had enough of dog poo on the streets, and they're not going to take it anymore!

Kids envisage a world without dog poo.

A rockclimber mannequin poised to burgle the apartments above the sports shop

Lakeside gardens in the Muralto district just east of the port

A festive lake boat pulling into Locarno port

Driving back towards the Simplon via the Centovalli, we pass this imposing Taj Mahal wannabe in the village of Re (yellow dot on the map below). This is the Santuario della Madonna del Sangue ("Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Blood", yechh). You'll never guess what happened! Well, in the 14th century there was a religious sort of statue here called, unfortunately, Madonna del Latte or Our Lady of the Milk, and in 1494 (April 29th, this is almost the anniversary), some drunk guy lost a sporting match and threw a stone at the statue and then -- profuse loss of statue blood all over the floor, for more than 20 days. (Some of the holy statue blood is still there in little bottles behind the altar.)

So, after the local mayor of Re attested to the authenticity of all this statue blood, word got passed round through miracle-veneration circles and pilgrims started showing up and looking for something to drop financial offerings into, and so the sanctuary was built in the early 17th century to "welcome" them to the village of Re. That's the sanctuary there -- no, not the Taj Mahal thing, the little one.

This one, this is the early 17th century sanctuary which helped to establish the brisk trade in miracle pilgrims. So as the fragile popularity of Santa Maria del Sangue grew and word spread farther, a new basilica was needed to accommodate all that sacred traffic.

So the big thing was completed in 1958 and now we can rest easy in the confidence that the bloody statue has got a good home.

Kristin at the Simplon Pass

Cannobio, Italy, in April 2005

The Hotel Pironi in Cannobio

The Horrible Orrido di S. Anna

Verbania and the Borromeo Islands

Locarno and the Centovalli

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 May 2005, revised 4 June 2012, 6 August 2014.

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