Have you ever been? If so, you may know that climbing to the top of Michelangelo’s dome will add 491 stairs to your workout. And it’s a scary climb – in some spots, the “staircase” is so narrow there’s no room for railings, so there’s a rope that runs down the middle for you to hold on to. And sometimes, it’s both narrow and incredibly slanted. Not good for claustrophobics. You don’t have to climb the whole thing, though – you can take an elevator and save 171 stairs.
The current Basilica is actually the new St. Peter’s Basilica. Old Saint Peter’s Basilica was built by command of Constantine I in 324. It was at there that Charlemagne was crowned the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas Day in 800. Not much of the original Basilica remains, but a piece of a mosaic from the eighth century can still be found at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, and eight of the original columns from the old altar were moved to the new (current) St. Peter’s.
A few weeks ago, I was excited to visit York so I could say I had visited old York before New York. And now I continue the trend with Boston. I have never been to Boston, Massachusetts (I’m a west coast girl), but like many towns in New England, Boston has its naming roots in old England. Boston, Massachusetts began life as the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Company) in 1629. Its first Governor was John Winthrop, who shortly after his arrival in America in 1630 suggested that the capital of the colony be named after their hometown back in England. He was a part of a fleet of Puritans – about 1000 – that came over from Lincolnshire to escape religious and political persecution.
Old Boston’s most notable landmark is St Botolph’s Church (pictured here), which is famous for it’s extraordinarily tall tower, known as the Boston Stump. Work on the church begun in 1309 – old Boston really is old! And quite charming.
I’m really enjoying exploring England on day trips. One of the best bits is meeting all sorts of different people. Locals, world travelers, old and young. Today I met the cutest little girl: “Are you from America? Your accent is lovely. I can talk like that too mimics my accent… Can I have your autograph?” =]
St Edmund is named for Edmund, who was crowned King of East Anglia at the age of 15. In 869, he lead an army against the invading Danes and was captured and tortured to death. Legend has it that Edmund refused to renounce his strong Catholic faith, and thus died a martyr.
The Cathedral stands within the boundaries of an old Abbey built in 633, which was renamed in St. Edmund’s honor. For the next five centuries, pilgrims from all over the world traveled to worship at the shrine of St Edmunds. In fact, St Edmund was held to be the patron saint of England before St George.