Catholicism must be counted as one of the magical elements of the south that greets the Protestant northern lands to the south of the Alps.I will never forget how it influenced me on my first trip as a young man from a strictly Protestant family travelling to Italy. I recall how amazed and enchanted I was at the sight of this natural, naive way of life people enjoyed in their places of worship, in their religion, the central power of the church from which radiated an incessant stream of colour, comfort, music, vibrancy and stimulation. (...)
When I crossed over the Alps, I found myself moved and deeply touched by the sight of the numerous, beautiful churches and chapels, just as I was touched by the warmer climate, the first sounds of a more sonorous language and views of the stepped vineyards; it were as though I was being lulled back into a gentler, kinder state of being protected by the cradling arms of a mother, to a time of childlike, simpler, more pious and happier way of life among men.
Hermann Hesse (1920): Churches and Chapels in Ticino.
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