Life/ Selyna Bermudez: My First Time Inside Chiesa di San Sisto

Selyna Bermudez

After living in Viterbo for the past eight weeks and passing by the enormous building each time I would enter Porta Romana, I finally had the curiosity to stop by this afternoon and check out what was inside.

From the outside, the tall brown ancient building doesn’t look like the typical church with looming colors, a statue of Jesus Christ, God, or the Virgin Mary implanted right in the center of the alley. Instead when I first stepped into San Sisto, I was approached by four wooden doors. The door on the right side is what led me to the churches entry. As I slowly walked inside, my eyes were immediately hooked by the exquisiteness. I was intrigued by the light brown, hard, smooth, and shining wood benches, the white daisy flower on the right side of the bench that had your favorite delightful fresh gardenia smell. Along with the soft, silky, thin thorn free texture that made it easy to run my fingers through the petals tied along the several white grass strings or the music scripture booklet filled with brown dot specks.

The texture of the book was thick and the pages were slightly blended on the right corners smelling old, dry, and wet. Looking up at the ceiling there were 14 different statues of Jesus Christ that displayed a powerful, meaningful, and cruel reality of the journey he went through. In front there is an extended, rigid, and rough texture circulating around the benches where God himself is standing at the midpoint welcoming you with two open hands, offering his piece, and guidance. At the bottom there are four plastic middle size candles that are lighted up and forward-facing the Virgin Mary surrounded by petite brown tree branches, light and dark green stiff leaves. Climbing through the dark brick stair alley, I was encountered by a grey shining railing that led to the black dusty cage door confession booth.

What was particular about this setting was that you needed to ring the rectangular doorbell in order to be seen by a priest. As I approached the music room, I noticed that next to the piano and where you kneel after receiving the Holy Communion there are two long circular pieces of wood holding the bench from falling apart. The lights have a darkish beam, old brick faded walls, and a dark overlapping shadow where you can see your footsteps in the stone floor.

Being able to walk inside San Sisto for the first time in complete silence, made me realize that all the styles and architecture differ depending on what town, city, or region you are visiting because you don’t know what to expect. As a foreigner, you don’t realize how historical a building is until you experience it for the first time. Therefore, I am glad that my curiosity took over and I was able to fully intake the beauty and history that underlies in this Romanesque medieval church.


Selyna Bermudez: sono una studentessa dell’Università del Nevada, Las Vegas. Il mio indirizzo è il giornalismo con studi sui media e sui servizi umani. Questa estate sto studiando in Italia a Viterbo con USAC. Ho scelto una piccola città, per vivere la tranquillità e le bellezze che offre. Essere una parte di essa mi permetterà di esplorare la mia scrittura e dare voce a ciò che vedo. Sono felice di iniziare questo viaggio straordinario di scrittura!