Behind the Sacred Scenes
Inside the vestries, the church control rooms
Vestries are areas that are closed to the public, places we know very little about and where we can fully appreciate the hierarchical system on which the Catholic Church is built. Places that serve the rituals of daily celebration, where a considerable amount of energy is concentrated: rooms of the before and after, almost never photographed as they’re very difficult to access, and are often devoid of any artistic qualities. And yet they’re steeped in a secret charm similar to that you might find backstage in a theatre, where all the magic is created.
They’re home to all the archives, preparation rooms and storage spaces: rigorously well organised areas alongside closets bursting with ceremonial objects, works of art and ancient registers that document the parish church’s liturgical history.
All the photos were taken in Brescia, the diocese which – with 473 parish churches and 661 priests – has, along with Milan and Bergamo, the greatest number of priests and bishops in Italy. Hence why the province of Brescia is known as one of the three “vestries of Italy”.