Although Italy incorporates the Vatican City which as we all know is the “headquarter” of the Catholic Church organized in a worldwide hierarchy under the Pope, Italy is far not the most catholic country in the world. It might sound surprising, but Italy is only 9th considering the percentage of catholic people in the country with 83% of the population (first being obviously the Vatican City itself, 2nd being East Timor a country in Maritime Southeast Asia which I guess most of us never even heard of. However, having the head of the Christianity in Rome itself, has a huge impact on the city and on the whole country – even though the Patti Lateranensi (Lateran Treaty) have been subscribed back in 1929 to regulate the relations between the State and the Catholic Church, the Vatican impacts on everyday life and politics.
You can be a fierce believer or not, one of the great things of the Holy Year is Pentecost: celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. In the Pantheon, every year they commemorate the Pentecost with a huge scatter of rose petals from the hole in the ceiling, to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues. In 2015 it was on the 24 May, this year it will be the 20 May, this Sunday and I want to go back there to witness it: more than the rose petals falling down, what is really exciting is the waiting. You are standing there among hundreds of people and when finally the firemen get on top of the Pantheon and start throwing the petals down, it feels like magic. It is such a unique experience; one of those things to do at least once in your life. I really hope I get to see it again this year!