Once an Etruscan territory, the enchanting village lies on the banks of Lake Bolsena, a 43 km body of water formed by the eruption of the Vulsini volcano 370,000 years ago. The two islands placed In the middle of the lake resulted from underwater eruptions.

While visiting the church of Santa Cristina, I discovered that in 1263, a Bohemian priest, who doubted as to whether Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host, went on a pilgrimage to Rome to strengthen his faith. On his way back from the Eternal City, he stopped in the church of Satan Cristina, and while celebrating Mass above the tomb of San Cristina, blood began to seep from the consecrated Host and drip over his hands onto the marble altar and the altar linen. The priest interrupted the Mass and requested to go to Orvieto, the town where Pope Urban IV resided. Pope Urban listened to the priest’s account and absolved him. The Pope then ordered the Bishop to bring to Orvieto the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains. When the church dignitaries brought the items to Orvieto, the Pope met the procession and had the relics placed in the cathedral. In Bolsena, the church of Santa Cristina contains a reliquary containing the bloodstained marble.

Santa Cristina 1
Santa Cristina in the early morning.
Santa Cristina
Santa Cristina Altar

Next Stop: Montefiascone


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