The Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua began construction in 1232, just one year after the death of this famous saint. It was completed in the year 1310, and subsequently became the final resting place of St. Anthony. Each year, thousands of pilgrims flock to the basilica for a chance to venerate the remains of St. Anthony, whose body now lies entombed within a spectacular marble altar.
Throughout the basilica, you can find a great variety of art and architecture, ranging from the ancient to the contemporary. Most notably, there is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, designed in 1927 by a local Italian artist, as well the famous Icon referred to simply as Our Lady of the Pillar.
Perhaps the most breathtaking feature of this church lies behind the main altar, in the form of a massive reliquary, containing various relics associated with St. Anthony. These relics include his vestments, the chalice with which he offered Mass, a fragment of his tongue, his jawbone, and many similar items.
As pilgrims are directed to exit this basilica, they quickly find themselves in the midst of an ancient cloister, once associated with the basilica, and part of which remains in use to this day. It’s a quaint little spot to leave the crowds behind for a while, and contemplate the true depth of Faith that must have gone into the creation of this basilica so many centuries ago.