#257, Venice, Italy
Because good things come in threes, here's one more red stencil to add to the past weekend's collection. We're back, once again, with the Venetian style of red-painted-on-white, this time with a bit of a wonky angle to keep things interesting. The asymmetry of this one appeals to me, as do the layered states of decay. But enough about the elegant decay of Venice. Let's go to where the action is. Follow me, won't you, a few hundred miles away from the lagoons of northern Italy and the lulling waters of the Adriatic Sea to a lively volcano town near the coastline known as Naples.
San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, is much beloved among Italians and Italian-Americans. Not only is a vial of his 1,700 year old blood said to reliquify several times a year, but he's got a feast day that's become one of New York City's biggest blow-outs. Officially, San Gennaro's feast day falls on September 19th, but like all good holidays, it's been commercialized beyond logical comprehension and stretched out over eleven luxurious days.
The San Gennaro festival is still bringing its tradition of cannoli, carnival, and the not-to-be-missed (and oh-so-Catholic) fried Oreos to Little Italy through September 20th. So if you're in New York and haven't gotten your fill this year of religious figurines and frozen daquiris served up in plastic cups the shape and size of a femur, now's your chance. If you do go on Saturday, the feast day itself, you can partake of the parade and watch the statue of the saint be paraded up and down Mulberry Street from his home in the Church of the Most Precious Blood. You can probably also dunk a clown for a mere few dollars, if past years are any indicator.
And skeptics, trust me on the fried Oreos. Unsatisfied after one? Sickened at the prospect of a half dozen? You'll still walk home with a brown paper bag chock full of grease and powdered sugar, which you can wash down with a king-sized sugar-laden vaguely liquor-laced beverage of choice while singing along to the latest bad Italian pop song being blared from a sausage vendor's half-busted PA. Who says Catholics don't know how to have fun?