Northern Italy

Saints In Northern Italy

First Class Relics
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Athanasius, bishop and doctor – May 2nd  

St Athanasius (d. 373, Alexandria, Egypt) (Relics: Venice, Italy; Cairo, Egypt)
San Zaccaria (Saint Zacharias)
Campo San Zaccaria
30122 Venice, Italy
*The remains of St Athanasius and St Zacharias, the father of St John the Baptist, are enshrined on the right side of the nave.
*Saint Athanasius was a passionate defender of orthodoxy during the Arian crisis in the 4th century. As a result, he suffered exile on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, by the end of his life he was able to return to Alexandria and died in peace surrounded by his clergy at the age of seventy-seven. It is unclear how his relics arrived in Venice.

Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor – April 29th
St Catherine of Siena (d. 1380, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Siena, Italy; Venice, Italy)
Santi Giovanni e Paolo
(Saints John and Paul)
Castello 6363
30122 Venice, Italy
*A relic of the foot of St Catherine of Siena rests near the Chapel of St Dominic on the right side of nave.

Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor – January 24th

St Francis de Sales (d. 1622, Lyon, France) (Relics: Treviso, Italy; Annecy, France)
Monastero della Visitazione
(Monastery of the Visitation)
Via G. B. Mandruzzato 22
31100 Treviso, Italy
*During the French Revolution the Visitation nuns transferred the heart of St Francis de Sales from Lyons, France to Treviso, Italy. Today this relic remains in Treviso and rests within the church at this monastery. The relic is located on the right side of the nave. If the relic is not visible kindly ask a nun to raise the protective screen.

Lucy, virgin and martyr – December 13th
St Lucy (d. 304, Syracuse, Sicily) (Relics: Syracuse, Sicily; Venice, Italy)
Several different traditions account for the translation of St Lucy’s remains. The first claims that the Duke of Spoleto, Faroald II, transferred her remains to a small city in central Italy. From here they were taken to Metz, France by Otto I in 972 AD. This tradition then seems to end here as the whereabouts of these relics are unknown today. A separate tradition claims that the Byzantine General, Giorgio Maniace, transferred the relics in 1038 AD from Syracuse to Constantinople. With the fall of Constantinople in 1204 these relics were then transferred to Venice, Italy. They remained here throughout the following centuries occasionally being transferred to different churches within the city. In 1860 they were brought to their present location within the parish church of San Geremia. Since this final transfer, however, her remains have been desecrated on two separate occasions. The most recent occurred in November of 1981 when two individuals stole the body of St Lucy from this church. Gratefully one month later her body was returned to this church on her feast day.
San Geremia (Saint Jeremiah)
Sestiere Cannaregio 290
30131 Venice, Italy
*The body of St Lucy is enshrined in this church on the side opposite the church entrance. Her remains rest within a beautiful glass-sided urn set within a golden casket.

Mark, evangelist – April 25th

St Mark (d. Alexandria, Egypt) (Relics: Venice, Italy; Cairo, Egypt; Reichenau, Germany)
Basilica di San Marco
(Saint Mark’s Basilica)
Piazza San Marco
30124 Venice, Italy
*In 828 two Venetian merchants stole the relics of St Mark from Alexandria and brought them to Venice. A popular legend holds that the relics were hid in a barrel of pork so that they would not be discovered. These relics are now located beneath the main altar of this church. The Pala d’Oro is located just behind this altar on the back side of the retable.

Nicholas, bishop – December 6th

St Nicholas (d. 350, Myra, Turkey) (Relics: Bari, Italy; Venice, Italy)
In 1993 a small grave was found on Gemiler Island east of Rhodes. Historians believe that the body of St Nicholas was originally buried in this grave and then subsequently transferred to Myra. From Myra the bones of St Nicholas were stolen by Italian merchants in 1087 and taken to the two Italian cities of Bari and Venice. The merchants from Bari raided the tomb first and in their haste they took only the large bone fragments. The Venetian merchants came later and took the remaining smaller bone fragments. A scientific study in 1992 confirmed that both collections are from the same skeleton.
San Nicolo al Lido
(Saint Nicholas at the Lido)
Riviera San Nicolo
30126 Venice, Italy
*Small bone fragments of St Nicholas rest within this church. They are placed within a beautiful funerary monument located in the main sanctuary. Three statues placed above this monument depict St Nicholas and two other saints whose relics are also preserved here.

Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor – June 13th

St Anthony of Padua (d. 1231, Padua, Italy) (Relics: Padua, Italy)
Basilica di Sant’Antonio da Padova
(Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua)
Piazza del Santo 11
35123 Padova, Italy
*The tomb of St Anthony of Padua rests within a chapel on the left side of the nave. His tomb was opened in 1981 and contains the bones of the saint.
*Within the apse of the church is the Treasury Chapel. This chapel contains three niches. The central niche preserves three important relics of St Anthony of Padua. These include his lower jaw, his incorrupt tongue, and cartilage from his larynx. All three of these relics are used in speech and reflect the saint’s great ability as a preacher.

Josephine Bakhita, virgin – February 8th
St Josephine Bakhita (d. 1947, Schio, Italy) (Relics: Schio, Italy)
Chiesa della Sacra Famiglia – Suore Canossiane
(Church of the Holy Family – Canossian Sisters)
Via Fusinato 51
36015 Schio, Italy
*St Josephine Bakhita began her life as a slave in Sudan. After gaining her freedom she became a nun in Italy and spent the last 45 years of her life in this Canossian convent. Her body now rests under the main altar of this church.

Luke, evangelist – October 18th

St Luke (Relics: Rome, Italy; Padua, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; Thebes, Greece)
St Luke is believed to have died in Thebes, Greece during the latter part of the first century. Records then indicate the transfer of his remains to Constantinople in the fourth century. From here one theory suggests that his remains were transferred to Padua during the Iconoclastic persecutions in the 8th century. Documented proof of their presence in Padua surfaces by the year 1177 when a tomb is unearthed next to Santa Giustina bearing the symbols of St Luke. Papal recognition of these relics followed soon after.

Abbazia Santa Giustina
(Abbey of Saint Justina)
Via Giuseppe Ferrari 2A
35123 Padova, Italy
*The body of St Luke rests within the left transept of this church. A recent study upon these relics was conducted at the request of Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua in 1998. This study determined that these relics are of an individual that would fit the description of St Luke.
*A decorated tomb within the right transept of this church is dedicated to St Matthias. Apart from the beautiful inscription upon the tomb which in Latin reads “Sors cecidit super Mathiam” the church provides no signage to support the presence of the apostle’s relics within the tomb. This is somewhat striking since directly across from his tomb the church explains in great detail the relics of St Luke. Some, nevertheless have argued that these relics of St Matthias were brought to Padua in the 8th century at about the same time as the arrival of St Luke’s relics. This tradition, however, conflicts with the even older tradition of St Helena who in the 4th century is said to have acquired the relics of St Matthias and distributed them to both Rome, Italy and Trier, Germany.

Aloysius Gonzaga, religious - June 21st
St Aloysius Gonzaga (d. 1591, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy)

Il Santuario di San Luigi Gonzaga
(The Sanctuary of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga)
Via Cesare Battisti 1
46043 Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy
*St Aloysius Gonzaga was raised in this city at his family’s castle. Despite this lofty upbringing he decided to renounce his worldly inheritance in favor of a life as a Jesuit. During his formation in Rome he was never lacking in charity and often spent many hours caring for the sick. On one such occasion he himself contracted the plague. Shortly thereafter at the tender age of twenty-three he passed away. His skull was eventually given to one of his brothers and returned to his family’s castle. Today this relic rests above the main altar of the church located here.

Ambrose, bishop and doctor – December 7th
St Ambrose (d. 397, Milan, Italy) (Relics: Milan, Italy)
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
(Basilica of Saint Ambrose)
Piazza Sant’Ambrogio 15
20123 Milan, Italy
*St Ambrose was the bishop of this city for over 20 years. It was during this time that St Augustine (d. 430) heard St Ambrose’s powerful preaching and became attracted to the Christian faith. Today the body of St Ambrose, dressed in white pontifical vestments, rests within an urn in the crypt of this church. Lying beside his remains are the bodies of two additional saints, the martyrs Gervasius and Protasius.

Angela Merici, virgin - January 27th
St Angela Merici (d. 1540, Brescia, Italy) (Relics: Brescia, Italy)

Chiesa di Sant’Angela Merici
(Church of Saint Angela Merici)
Via Francesco Crispi 23
25121 Brescia, Italy
*The remains of St Angela Merici rest within this church in a chapel on the right side of the nave. The original church that housed her relics was destroyed during World War II on March 2, 1945. The present sanctuary was built over this destroyed church.

Anthony Zaccaria, priest – July 5th

St Anthony Zaccaria (d. 1539, Cremona, Italy) (Relics: Milan, Italy)
San Barnaba
(Saint Barnabas)
Via della Commenda 5
20122 Milan, Italy
*In this city St Anthony Zaccaria founded the Congregation of the Regular Clerks of St Paul commonly referred to as the Barnabites.
*St Anthony Zaccaria’s short life was marked by great compassion for the poor and an equally strong desire to share the Word of God. Just prior to his canonization in 1897 his remains were placed within the crypt of this church. Today some of these remains still rest within this church. They are placed within the statue of his likeness that rests below the main altar of this church. A majority of his relics, however, have been distributed to other Barnabite communities throughout the world.

Augustine, bishop and doctor (August 28th)
St Augustine (d. 430, Annaba, Algeria) (Relics: Pavia, Italy; Annaba, Algeria)
Upon his death St Augustine was buried in the ancient city of Hippo in Northern Africa. A few decades later, due to the growing persecution of Christians in that area, his remains were transferred to Sardinia. In 720 AD Sardinia itself became unsafe; therefore, his remains were again moved. This time they were brought to Pavia, Italy.
San Pietro in Ciel D'Oro
(Saint Peter in the Heavens of Gold)
Piazza San Pietro in Ciel D’Oro
27100 Pavia, Italy
*The remains of St Augustine rest within a glass-sided urn located within the large funerary monument in the main sanctuary of this church.
*Boethius is also buried in this church. His tomb rests within the crypt and is labeled S. Severini Boetii.

Benedict, abbot (July 11th)

St Benedict (b. 480, Norcia, Italy) (d. 547, Monte Cassino, Italy) (Relics: Monte Cassino, Italy; Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France; Brescia, Italy)
Duomo Nuovo
(The New Cathedral)
Piazza Paolo VI
25121 Brescia, Italy
*An arm bone of St Benedict rests within this church. It is placed in front of the beautiful funerary monument dedicated to St Apollonio on the right side of the nave. Around the year 759 this relic was given to a Benedictine community in Leno, located just south of Brescia. During the 15th century it was transferred to Brescia.
*Recently this bone has been rigorously studied in an attempt to authenticate the relics in either Monte Cassino or Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. Documentation shows that this bone came from Montecassino in 759. This late date provides evidence that at least some relics of the saint were still preserved in Montecassino following the alleged theft in the 7th century. On the other hand, recent studies seem to indicate that the physical characteristics of this bone from Brescia do not match the Montecassino source.

Charles Borromeo, bishop – November 4th

St Charles Borromeo (d. 1584, Milan, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Milan, Italy)
Duomo di Milano
(Cathedral of Milan)
Piazza del Duomo 18
20122 Milan, Italy
*The remains of St Charles Borromeo rest within the crypt of this church. Access to this crypt is located on the right side of the main sanctuary. St Charles was a greatly beloved bishop of this city during the late 16th century.
*Located below this church is an ancient baptistery. It was here that St Ambrose baptized St Augustine in 387 AD.

Columban, abbot – November 23rd
St Columban (d. 615, Bobbio, Italy) (Relics: Bobbio, Italy)
Abbazia di Bobbio (Bobbio Abbey)
Piazza Santa Fara
29022 Bobbio, Italy
*As a young man St Columban’s apostolic zeal carried him away from his native Ireland first to England and then to France where he attracted many followers to his apostolic mission. Eventually he moved to Italy and was given a tract of land near Bobbio. It was here that he spent the last years of his life. His remains now rest within a sarcophagus in the crypt of this church.

Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop – August 2nd
St Eusebius of Vercelli (d. 371, Vercelli, Italy) (Relics: Vercelli, Italy)
Cattedrale di Vercelli
(Cathedral of Vercelli)
Piazza S. Eusebio
13100 Vercelli, Italy
*This church is dedicated to St Eusebius of Vercelli. During his life he strenuously opposed the heresy of Arianism. In 355 AD at a synod in Milan his refusal to accept Arianism led to his exile. During this time he suffered greatly especially at the hands of an Arian bishop in Syria. Some years later he was granted his freedom and eventually returned to Vercelli.
*An altar on the left side of the nave contains an urn with the remains of St Eusebius.

Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin* - November 13th
St Frances Xavier Cabrini (d. 1917, Chicago, Illinois, USA) (Relics: New York City, New York, USA; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Rome, Italy; Codogno, Italy; Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy)
Centro di Spiritualità Santa Francesca Cabrini
(Center of Spirituality)
Via Giosuè Carducci 50
26845 Codogno, Italy
*Nine years before arriving in America St Frances Xavier Cabrini founded the Institute of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in this city. Today a small museum located at this center wonderfully preserves this event. Also located here is the relic of St Frances’ heart. It rests within the convent chapel just to the right of the main sanctuary. It is best to call ahead prior to visiting to reserve a tour.
Basilica di Sant’Antonio Abate e Santa Francesca Cabrini
(Basilica of St Anthony the Abbot and St Frances Cabrini)
Via Umberto I
Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, Italy
*Construction of this beautiful church began in 1928 and was completed ten years later. A bone from St Frances Xavier Cabrini rests within a marble altar in the chapel dedicated in her name.
*St Frances Xavier Cabrini was also born in this city. Her childhood home is reconstructed into a museum and can be visited.

Gianna Beretta Molla

St Gianna Beretta Molla (d. 1962) (Relics: Mesero, Italy)
Santuario Santa Gianna Beretta Molla
(Sanctuary of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla)
Piazza Europa 2
20010 Mesero, Italy
*This church honors the memory of St Gianna Beretta Molla. A chapel on the right side preserves some artifacts from her life.
*Located just a few blocks north of this shrine, just off Via Kennedy, is the tomb of St Gianna Beretta Molla. She is buried next to her husband in a small edifice within the parish cemetery.

Basilica di San Martino
(Basilica of Saint Martin)
Via Roma 39
20013 Magenta, Italy
*St Gianna Beretta Molla was born in this city and baptized in this church. It was also here that she married her husband, Pietro Molla. A wonderful exhibit in the left transept displays pictures from her wedding day.

Jerome Emiliani, priest – February 8th

St Jerome Emiliani (d. 1537, Somasca, Italy) (Relics: Somasca, Italy)
Santuario di San Girolamo Emiliani
(Sanctuary of Saint Jerome Emiliani)
Via alla Basilica 1
23808 Vercurago, Italy
*This church honors the memory of St Jerome Emiliani. It was here in this city that he founded the Somascan Fathers with the primary mission of caring for orphans. During his feast on February 8th the Somascan Fathers present to the faithful an urn containing his skull. His bones rest behind a grate placed upon a wall within the chapel dedicated to him on the right side of the nave.
*The spot where St Jerome Emiliani died is preserved within a small chapel located just a short walk from the church. Also of note is the small sanctuary called the Valletta located along a path that rises above this town. Further along this same path is an abandoned fortress called the Rocca dell’Innominato which provides an amazing view of both the Southern Alps and of Italy’s northern lakes.
John Bosco, priest – January 31st

St John Bosco (d. 1888, Turin, Italy) (Relics: Turin, Italy)
Basilica di Maria Ausiliatrice
(Basilica of Mary Our Helper)
Piazza Maria Ausiliatrice 27
10512 Torino, Italy                                                     
*St John Bosco founded the Salesian community at this location and later in 1868 completed this magnificent basilica. Relics of St John Bosco now rest within the chapel dedicated to him on the right side of the nave. Some of his relics are also periodically put on tour throughout the world. Also within this church are the remains of St Dominic Savio, a very saintly youth who studied under St John Bosco.
Pier Giorgio Frassati
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (d. 1925, Turin, Italy) (Relics: Turin, Italy)
Duomo di Torino (Turin Cathedral)
Via XX Settembre 87
10122 Turin, Italy
*Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is buried in the third chapel on the left side of the nave.
*Also kept in this church is the Holy Shroud of Turin. However, it is not often presented for public veneration. The last opportunity occurred during the spring of 2015.

Anne, mother of The Blessed Virgin Mary – July 26th

St Anne  (Relics: Apt, France; Bologna, Italy; Sainte-Anne d’Auray, France; Sainte-Anne de Beaupré, Quebec, Canada; Vienna, Austria)

Cattedrale di San Pietro
(Cathedral of Saint Peter)
Via Indipendenza 7
40126 Bologna, Italy
*The head of St Anne is said to rest within a reliquary in the second chapel on the right side of the nave.
*In 1435 the King of England, Henry VI, gave this relic to the city of Bologna after their bishop, Blessed Nicolò Albergati, smoothed relations between England and France during the 100 Years’ War.

Apollinaris, bishop and martyr – July 20th

St Apollinaris (d. 1st century, Ravenna, Italy) (Relics: Ravenna, Italy; Düsseldorf, Germany)
Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe
(Basilica of Saint Apollinaris in Classe)
Via Romea Sud 224
48124, Classe Ravenna, Italy
*The bones of St Apollinaris rest within the main altar of this church.
*A debate arose in Ravenna during the 12th century whether the true relics of St Apollinaris rested within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo or within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe. After examining the evidence Pope Alexander III determined that the authentic relics rested within the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare in Classe. An empty tomb within this church dated from 1173 AD preserves the memory of this declaration. This empty tomb is located below the small marble altar placed in the center of the nave. The bones of St Apollinaris were transferred to the main altar within the sanctuary in the 18th century.

Dominic, priest – August 8th

St Dominic (d. 1221, Bologna, Italy) (Relics: Bologna, Italy)
Basilica di San Domenico
(Saint Dominic’s Basilica)
Piazza San Domenico
40124 Bologna, Italy
*The remains of St Dominic rest within this church in an exquisite tomb called the Arca di San Domenico. This tomb is placed in a large side chapel on the right side of the nave. The relic of St Dominic’s skull is enshrined within a reliquary on the backside of this tomb.
Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor – July 30th

St Peter Chrysologus (d. 450, Imola, Italy) (Relics: Imola, Italy)
Cattedrale di San Cassiano
(Cathedral of Saint Cassian)
Piazza Duomo 1
40026 Imola, Italy
*St Peter Chrysologus was born in this city in 406 AD. He eventually became the Bishop of Ravenna and was known for his outstanding homilies. One hundred seventy-six of these homilies survive to this day.
*The remains of St Peter Chrysologus rest within an altar in the crypt of this church. Kindly ask the sacristan for access. The relics of St Peter Chrysologus are within the altar to the left. The more prominent central altar preserves a few bone fragments from the martyr St Cassian.

Peter Damian, bishop and doctor – February 21st

St Peter Damian (d. 1072, Faenza, Italy) (Relics: Faenza, Italy)
Duomo di Faenza
(Faenza Cathedral)
Piazza XI Febbraio
48018 Faenza, Italy
*St Peter Damian who was born in the nearby town of Ravenna always retained a strong connection to Faenza. It was here that he studied early in life and later where he founded a hermitage and a monastery. He was known in life as a reformer, a scholar, and a diplomat. He died in Faenza and his remains were interred in a monastery within this city until in 1826 they were transferred to the cathedral. They can now be found solemnly displayed within an urn in the sixth chapel on the left side of the nave.

*Note: The Memorials and Feasts listed above with an asterisk are specific to the National Calendar of the United States of America as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and approved by the Holy See.