Parma: ineffability treatment course

If you feel philosophical (and that happens every time you think “WTF?!” while saying, “I am not sure I understand what made you do this to me”), nothing is better than a temporary dive into monastic life. Because it offers a universally simple answer, “His ways are ineffable”. Were this answer a weapon, we’d be indestructible.

In Parma, you can enter a 30-minute ineffability treatment course, free of charge and without the need to take vows. And that’s exactly the case when men balding at the top have a natural edge. Walk with me through it, for there’s a magic switch at the end. A switch that may change your outlook on life.

We walk to Parma’s Benedictine abbey, and start roaming its three cloisters. You may see a couple of tourists. But they would pop in and get out, leaving you to enjoy the “silencio” of its courtyards.

The Abbey can be found just behind the main Parma Cathedral (its 246ft bell tower is the town’s highest, which makes it very difficult to miss):

San Giovanni Evangelista, founded in the 10th (!) century

San Giovanni Evangelista, founded in the 10th (!) century

The entrance to serenity is to the right of the church.

Once inside, you walk through its galleries:

Enjoying faded murals:

Marveling at architectural details:

Or simply looking at the old tree of wisdom in the middle of one of the cloisters. It doesn’t have any apples, so you’re safe:

Occasionally, you venture into some of the open doors where you find old murals like this illusionistic Last Supper:

And at the end, you will find a monastic switch on the wall that would let you play god.

Let there be light, you say, and switch it on. Let there be bells, you say, and press the bell. And when a monk comes out and says, “I am not sure I understand what made you do this” (if you don’t know Italian, you’d recognise the question by the monk’s inquisitive tone of voice and raised eyebrows) you answer, “It’s ineffable, man, it’s ineffable”.

Bingo. You’re cured.

When you leave the abbey (monks are known to actually NOT throw ineffable people out), make sure you go next door, to the church, to see Correggio’s Vision on Patmos in the dome. I wrote about it in my previous post.

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