Archive for San Piero de Castelo


St. Peter’s weather report

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I knew two days ago what the weather was going to be last night.  I knew it without checking the barometer, or the online weather forecast, or the newspaper.  In fact, I knew it a year ago.

All I have to do is check the calendar.

June 29 is the Feast of St. Peter, as you know. And as everyone else knows — at least around here — that means there will be thunder. Probably rain. Possibly even hail, but that’s not so common.

Someone unknown to me has undoubtedly long since figured out why this is.  All I know is that St. Peter likes thunder. They tell frightened children he’s cleaning the wine barrels.  As  time goes on there probably won’t be any children left who know what a wine barrel looks like, but I suppose St. Peter could be cleaning barrels full of discounted, slightly damaged designer handbags.

What St. Peter also oversees is one of the best festivals in Venice.  Maybe anywhere.  The festa of San Piero de Casteo, held on the greensward in front of the eponymous church (for centuries the cathedral of Venice), is a great moment in the neighborhood year.  It’s five evenings of fun, frolic, and food, and dogs and kids and free gondola rides and also loud music that goes on far into the night. (St. Peter cleaning the Bose amplifiers?)

The proceeds, the fruit of phenomenal labor by squadrons of scouts and parishioners, some of whom in other places might have been expected to be doing nothing more strenuous than changing channels, are donated to all sorts of charitable causes.

The first people come with some semblance of tranquility and control. It doesn't last long.

Last night, being Wednesday, and the first night, the crowd was reasonably small, which meant you could still see grass and bits of walkway. The big event was the performance of  “I Rusteghi,” one of the many famous Venetian comedies by the extremely famous and important Carlo Goldoni (1707 – 1793).  A live performance of a certified classic — and for free. You can’t get that every day.

We wandered over there last night to get in the mood for the next few days; we (or at least I) needed to start strengthening my mental muscles to confront Friday and Saturday night, the peak moments of this event.

One of life's great mysteries: That it's more interesting to look at the person sitting next to you on a screen than it is to just turn to look at him or her for real.

It’s not so much the blasting music, which we can hear from our little hovel 293 meters/962 feet away, because eventually the band packs up and goes home.

It’s the enthusiastic shouting of overexcited people walking home, all of them funneling down the street which is just outside our bedroom window. It’s like having 2,000 people yelling good-night for an hour standing right in front of the bed.

We shut the windows and turn the fan on “high.”  The only other solution would be to go to the mountains every night.

Still, if for some reason this didn’t occur, I’d be sorry.  It would be like not having thunder or lightning or hail.  It would be wrong.

And yes, it did rain last night, but only some time after midnight so as not to spoil the party.  St. Peter thinks of everything.


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Categories : Venetian Events
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