Basilica San Domenico and St Catherine’s Severed Head, Siena, Italy

When we stayed in Rome for six weeks we were right next to the Basilica of St Mary of Minerva, which has a shrine with the body of St. Catherine. Just the body!

Turns out, her head and right thumb are in Siena’s Basilica San Domenico. It’s so fascinating to me that her body parts are enshrined forever more than 100 miles apart.

The church in Siena isn’t nearly as grand as in Rome, which gives it more of a church feel than a busy tourist spot. It feels like a place a worship, a place to pray or get a moment of peace.

St Catherine’s head (and thumb) have their own area inside the church. It’s the grandest area of the church, and had areas to pray and light candles. She’s the patron saint of illness, fire prevention, miscarriage, Europe, and nurses, so many people go to the church to pray to her.

You can see her actual mummified face and it was so fascinating. Imagine all the things those eyes have seen since she was born in 1347. Wild.

We almost forgot to stop here when we were in Siena and I’m so glad we remembered to go.

Want to thank me for breaking the rules (in a church!) by taking the pictures of St Catherine’s head? Buy me a glass of wine!