“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 35/40, virtual walk of the finger labyrinth at the Cathedral of San Maritino in Lucca:
Sundays are Sabbath days and I definitely rested today. In order not to get stressed by Lenten undertaking, I allow myself to research a new labyrinth and walk it as a finger labyrinth.
Today I researched Italian labyrinths and found this one, the Cathedral of San Maritino in Lucca … a Chartres pattern older than Chartres.
Following a Chartres-type design, the labyrinth found in the Cathedral of San Maritino in Lucca, Italy was cut into a single stone and acts as bas-relief. Located within the porch at the western end of the cathedral, the labyrinth has been placed vertically into one of the pillars. Similar to other Italian labyrinths, the one from Lucca draws parallels between the pagan Theseus and Christ:
Here is the Cretan labyrinth that Daedalus built. From it no one who entered could escape except Theseus, who succeeded through the grace of Ariadne’s thread.
This would seem to suggest that one would be trying to escape the labyrinth and not reach its center, but as the hexameter points out, one cannot succeed without Ariadne’s thread. Therefore, the faithful must rely on God to lead them out. According to the observations of Julien Durand, this labyrinth once contained the images of Theseus and the Minotaur, but over hundreds of years, the fingers of thousands have gradually rubbed these characters out, so that today no trace of them remains.
The labyrinth or maze is embedded in the right pier of the portico and is believed to date from the 12th or 13th century. Its importance is that it may well pre-date the famous Chartres maze, yet is of the Chartres pattern that became a standard for mazes. The rustic incised Latin inscription refers to ancient pagan mythology: “This is the labyrinth built by Dedalus of Crete; all who entered therein were lost, save Theseus, thanks to Ariadne’s thread” (HIC QUEM CRETICUS EDIT. DAEDALUS EST LABERINTHUS . DE QUO NULLUS VADERE . QUIVIT QUI FUIT INTUS . NI THESEUS GRATIS ADRIANE . STAMINE JUTUS”).
On the whole, too, those in the Italian churches are much smaller than the French specimens. On the wall of Lucca Cathedral (Fig. 43) is one of a diameter of only 1 ft. 7½ in. It formerly enclosed at the centre a representation of Theseus and the Minotaur, but owing to the friction of many generations of tracing fingers this has become effaced. Opposite the “entrance” is the inscription:
HIC QUEM CRETICUS EDIT
DAEDALUS EST LABERINTHUS,
DE QUO NULLUS VADERE
QUIVIT QUI FUIT INTUS,
NI THESEUS GRATIS ADRIANE