I often wonder if the impressive and extravagant architecture of cathedrals is meant to distance believers from what is heavenly and saintly, almost belittling mere humans in the face of religion. But when I think of religion, the image that comes into my mind is a special place in nature that is so inspiring that it draws on all the awe that lives in me and leaves me in sympathy with the mysteries of life, not scared, not feeling smaller, why would it? Aren’t love and kindness the essence of religion?
After many years of fascination and research of cathedrals, I have come to discover that these massive houses of worship were mostly constructed over generations in places that held a great historical significance. If you dig deeper into the history of cathedrals like Chartres in France and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, you will find out that the land they were built on used to be home of other much older churches and religious places. This all perhaps points to the significance of the exact location on the planet and much less to convenience or coincidence. It is fantastic to see the villages and towns you drive by in Tuscany and to see that the focal point of each one of them is a church or cathedral around which people gather in the Piazza.