Friday, 18 July 2008
Tuesday saw the patronal festival of the local town and the local saint, San Guido, was there in person as indeed he is for every festival. He was the first Bishop and would have been 1004 this year. They keep him in an suitably elaborate glass-fronted casket and, annually, he's taken out for a trip around the town and then the procession, accompanied by the great and the good, return to the Duomo for a serious Mass. The casket is quite heavy and there is much theatrical puffing, panting and brow-mopping amongst the carriers, particularly when there are women nearby. You can just see San Guido, all four foot of him, in his box below the priestly action. All the little men like little chocolates in their sashes are the Mayors of all the towns and villages in the diocese. The two carabiniere on sentry duty keep their peaked hats on and their guns in their holsters even in Church. Most odd. Even odder are the worshippers who at the end of the Mass rush forward, jostle and strain, elbow and barge to touch, just touch, his casket. Almost primitive.
Local villages also compete to see who has can bring the biggest, heaviest and most decorated crucifix for the procession. This lot are packing up their black Jesus, complete with lots of lovely jangly gold and silver foil.