Archive for December, 2016
I love charity benefit events; I also love Santa Claus (for the brief period each year in which I give him even one thought). And last Sunday we came upon — or it came upon us — the third edition of an annual run/trot/stroll around half the city called the “Corsa dei Babbo Natale,” or “Race of the Santa Clauses” (Santas Claus?)
This is not unique to Venice, though the landscape here obviously presents some traits not present in Milan, Brescia, Verona, Savona, Belluno, and undoubtedly lots of other places all over Italy. Sometimes it’s for charity, sometimes it’s just for fun. Check your local listings.
In the case of Venice, it was organized to benefit AVAPO, the association of volunteers who assist cancer patients and their families. The event was managed by The Venice Sport Shop and aided by various sponsors, primarily Mizuna, a maker of running shoes. For a modest fee anyone could sign up, get a number and a Santa Claus outfit and some other goodies, and join the crowd running/trotting/strolling from Rialto to Sant’ Elena and back to our own little lobe of Venice, the Giardini Pubblici, where music and refreshments waited.
I would happily have followed it and made lots of pictures of them running across the Piazza San Marco and other landmark sites, but we were set up to go rowing and join the boat procession of — yes — more Santa Clauses in the Grand Canal. Curses! We were foiled by fog! Vast, shifting, impenetrable banks of fog which not only would have spoiled the fun for us, but rowing to the church of the Salute would have rendered us a spectacular hazard to navigation.
But on our disappointed walk homeward, we suddenly found ourselves facing an army of S.C.’s swarming toward us. They were tired, but they were determined, and it was great to see whole families out together. And then people started greeting Lino by name as they passed, which was especially nice in the case of those who hadn’t yet removed their sweat-inducing beards because somehow Lino recognized virtually every one of the people greeting him. Was it their voice? Their glasses? Jewelry? Birthmark? But as usual, this came as no surprise. It’s the call of the DNA, which I can confirm overrides costumes, fog, and the passage of time.