Pietro Casola ~ Priest from Milan, a pilgrim to the Holy Land, June 8th, 1494



Pietro Casola ~ Priest from Milan, a pilgrim to the Holy Land, June 8th, 1494



On the 15th May 1494, during the Easter period, Pietro Casola left Milano, to begin what was to be a very long journey. Casola embarked in Venice, and sailed along to the Gulf of Trieste, reaching Poreč in Istria. On the 8th June Casola arrived in Jadra (Zadar):


“Sunday the 8th June, thanks be to God at the 11th hour, we arrived in Zadar… and with great delight, came many boats, we all gathered together and went to hear the mass …”.


Within its high surrounding walls which seem to be a fortress, Zadar appears to be a happy city, which is well built and well paved:


“it is fairly flat, but very clean and it has beautiful buildings…it has high and beautiful surrounding walls, a newly built castle on one side, a veritable fortress…All of the city is paved in tiles, in a certain way like those of Milan, they say that those have gout of the foot, and are unable to perambulate very seemly”.


Casola revealed the square shaped piazza but it was the many churches which particularly caught his eye, for example the convent of Saint Francis, the Benedictine Abbey of San Grisogono, the Cathedral (Sv. Stošija):


“I have visited their Cathedral, named after Saint Anastasia, it is a fine body of a church, very high and in the shape of a galley, all long and rounded, made in the finest wood, by the finest of masters, a waking Testament.” 


In another church, “de santo Simeone”, adorned with a silver arch, a present from the Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, after the vestry lies the remains of the body of the saint. 


“I went in the company of other pilgrims in the church of Saint-Simeon, where after a evening Sung Mass, we were shown the body of St. Simeon, the grandest of all the ones I could see in Rome and elsewhere. Indeed, the whole body. Nothing is missing, face, hands and legs are intact. The mouth is slightly open, there are no teeth on the upper gum, no wonder he died very old. Is it not the Holy Spirit that he announced that he would not die before he had seen the son of God, before he hugged our Lord Jesus Christ. The more I looked, the more I was admiring, as I thought at the time that has elapsed since his death. It is preserved with great care. The pilgrims brought many votive offerings and brushed the relic with their rosaries or their rings.”

Stopped by the wind “scirocco” the galley set sail, navigating “with little Garbino”, between the numerous small islands of Croatia, which are in front of Zadar and along the channel which is like a river.