Yesterday my wife and I experienced the Santa Scala. It is allegedly the staircase that Christ ascended to receive His judgment from Pontius Pilate. You go up on your knees. My wife and I couldn't believe how painful it was. The marble steps are now covered in walnut and they are worn down and curled so that your knees never have a flat place to rest.
At the top of the stairs is the Sancta Sanctorum the 'Holy of Holies' in which was once cased the world's grandest relic collection. Above the chapel is written in Latin, 'There is no place on earth more holy.' All the relics have been basically stripped out so that only an icon of Christ (made without human hands) remains over the altar. This icon was carried through the streets in elder days to ward off plagues.
The whole thing is amazing. Outside they were selling the most kitschy POD clock of Padre Pio that somewhat psychodelic and I wish I had bought it.
More to come. Stay tuned.