Returned to San Giovanni Fiorentini, as we were unable to visit the Falconieri crypt on our Borromini walk a couple weeks ago. It’s Borromini’s last work before he took his own life in 1667.
I went directly to the altar and found the somewhat secretive stairs, but no lights were on and I wondered if it was actually open. After wandering around for a few minutes looking for some church official, suddenly a squat, older priest in full garb came out of the sacristy area and began speaking with the flower-tender. And then I noticed he was carrying the silver reliquary of Mary Magdelene’s foot. “One of only three known,” as Corey stated on our tour. He was carrying it casually like a shoebox of notes. I hesitated approaching him, but I really wanted in to that crypt, so I just went up to him and the foot and asked. He immediately said “si, si,” and gestured me to follow him back to the altar, where he hit the right light switch with his free hand and directed me down the stairs, the other arm still cradling the foot with its little peep-window into Mary’s piede.