|Modica: Duomo di San Pietro|
Today is San Pietro or St Peter's Day and, as one of Modica's two Baroque cathedrals is dedicated to the keeper of God's keys, the feast is celebrated in earnest here: the bells of the Duomo di San Pietro have been ringing loudly and clearly at 30-minute intervals all day, people have been leaving offerings of food for the poor, there have been firecrackers and later the statue of the saint will be carried in procession around the town.
But this year, something is missing: in Italy a festival usually brings bancarelle, or open-air stalls and, whereas in Modica for San Pietro these usually stretch for over a mile, this year there are none. Why? Because the town council wanted to move them from their usual pitch in Modica Bassa's Viale Medaglie d'Oro, at the lower end of the Corso or main street, to the far end where the bus station is. This would have meant a re-routing of both local and inter-city buses and the prospective stallholders complained, with some justification, that the site was too far from the shopping centre. The council had wanted to move the stalls to avoid traffic congestion and because of hygiene concerns but the bus station end of the Corso would, in my view, have been a ridiculous alternative, as it would have been difficult for people to reach on foot. I have walked from the Viale Medaglie d'Oro, where the buses would have stopped had the proposal gone ahead, to the bus station many times but I would not have attempted it in 40°C! As so often in Modica, no thought had been given to pedestrians.
The parish priest of San Pietro is, however, happy about the absence of bancarelle as this is more in keeping with a religious festival.
|Modica: the bancarelle di San Pietro |
of times gone by
St Peter is the protector of fishermen, fishmongers, cobblers, locksmiths, reapers, watchmakers and doormen. He must be very busy with all that and the gate to watch too, so I hope he enjoys his evening trip around Modica.