Manoppello Italy: Basilica of the Holy Face “Veronica’s Veil” on Display
About the “the Veil of Veronica”:
The small town of Manoppello has recently come to fame as the home of the reported Veil of Veronica. Somewhat forgotten over the centuries, this is the cloth reportedly given to Jesus to wipe his face as he carried His cross to calvary. Although it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it was a widespread belief that it existed.
The Image of the Holy Face (Basilica del Volto Santo in Italian) is similar to the more famous Shroud of Turin, in that the image that appears is not painted on the surface, but is part of the cloth itself. When viewed from some angles it is fairly clear and yet when viewed from some other angles it is almost invisible.
It is different in one aspect, however, in that it is a positive image rather than a negative image as shown on the Shroud. When the image on the Veil of Manoppello is laid over the image of the face on the Shroud of Turin, the two images match perfectly. It is the same face. What makes this such a great place to visit is the fact that the veil is on public display year-round, unlike the Shroud of Turin which is only on display every 10 years or so.
You can view it from very close up and, again, unlike the Shroud of Turin, there is no time limit on viewing. Surprisingly there are few pilgrims here, so crowds are not a problem.
Here is a note from Father Carmine Cucinelli in Manoppello: “The Holy Face is always in the church in its place, in perpetual exposure. If you hear that the image was taken to other locations, in Italy or abroad, to make it known or enthrone it in some church, it is always a copy, a replica, not the original“.
We highly recommend the book “The Face of God” for a wonderful account of the history and significance of the Holy Face written by Paul Bedde, and a second book more recently written by him about the Shroud and the Holy Face entitled “The True Icon“.
On April 17th, 1958, His Holiness Pope Pius XII approved the observance of a Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).
Traveling to Manoppello:
There are very few organized tour groups that include Manoppello in their itineraries at this time although we hope that will change.
Manoppello is east of Rome, near the Adriatic coast. Manoppello is about four hours from Rome by train so it might make for a long day trip, but it is well worth the visit. If you happen to be visiting Loreto, it is about three hours by train. From Padre Pio’s Shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
There are actually two towns here. Manoppello and Manoppello Scalo. Manoppello Scala is at the foot of the hill and Manoppello (the one you want) is a the top of the hill, since it was once a fortified town.
Manoppello is about three hours from Rome by train so you could make it a day trip, although it would be a fairly long one, but it is well worth the visit. There are buses that will take you from the train station up to the town where the church is located. You can buy train tickets here.
Address: Via Cappuccini, 26, 65024, Manoppello PE, Italy
GPS coordinates: 42° 14′ 59.6400” N, 14° 3′ 44.6148” E
Tel: +39 085 859118 Fax: +39 085 8590041
Click here for the official website of volto santto in Manoppello, Italy.
A suggestion for independent travelers is to combine a visit here with that of Padre Pio’s Shrine at San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio himself had a great reverence for the Holy Face. It also fairly close to Lanciano as well. It is about 3 hours driving time from San Giovanni Rotondo to Manoppello.
Click here for the official website of the Basilica del Volto Santo (there is an English-language option).