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Well, as travel days go, this one was the kind of experience I have heard and read about and now I can say that I have experienced it as well.  I won’t bore you with the details but it was a version of Planes, trains and me the cranky sister, Italian style.  When we made it back to Rome we needed a shower, a full body massage and a nice hot cup of tea.  Since there was no masseuse available we settled for the comfort of our wonderful cousins and the other two.  Nothing a good nights sleep didn’t cure.  Lou’s husband Andrew (Roo to his adoring nieces and nephews) arrived after missing a connecting flight so we went home, re-organized our suitcases and let Andrew rest a bit.   The next day (Sat. Oct 16th) we went into Rome and my co-horts indulged me in a little search for Ex Votos in the religious article stores in the neighborhoods around the Vatican.  As it turns out this was the weekend that 6 new saints were to be canonized, a big deal and something that happens infrequently so the faithful were out in droves to stock up on newly minted medals, holy cards, statuettes, placques, rosaries, key rings and my personal favorite…fridge magnet/bottle openers with images of their saintos di giorno!  It was like a Catholic Disneyland!  These are the times when I am thankful to have been raised in a Catholic family, a religion which preaches that we should not worship icons.  One of the newbies happened to be the very first Australian saint Mary MacKillop, needless to say, Lou was all over that one.  The photo shows on of the fallen giving thanks and praise…miracles happen every day they say.  I did find one Ex Voto…cool but molto caro!

Sister Mary Louise giving a nod to Sister Mary MacKillop.


Italian Ex Voto Breastplate Image

Saturday night after we got back from Positano we went down to the Marina Grande, which is actually the smaller one where the fisherman come and go from.  Marina piccolo is where the large boats and cruise ships come in…but I digress.  This is a huge event in this town and is not to be missed if you are here.    It was the 25th anniversary and the whole town was out.  We had (for 5Euros each), a glass of wine and a plate of frittura del mare.  Seafood so fresh with the lightest dusting of batter, quickly fried and piled high on a plate.  Calamari, scampi and tiny fish which I think were fresh sardines, it was spectacular.  There was lots of other food, cakes, live music, (did you know that italian fisherman sang sea shanty’s?) and even fireworks.   One of the coolest things I saw was in the little church, why I was shocked to find the good stuff in Italy in a church I’m not sure, BUT, on either side of one of the side altars were these huge framed cases (about 4’x8′) filled with Italian Milagros, or Ex Votos!  If I could have taken a photo for you I would have, however, Catholic guilt and an overwhelming fear of being stricken by lightening prevailed.  They are much larger than the little Mexican milagros, somewhere in the 6″ to 8″ range, and I saw less variety.  They were predominantly hearts, swaddled babies, a few hands and an assortment of torso’s, breastplates, an occasional arm or leg, and a few heads in profile.  They were all on a backing of plush red velvet to heighten the drama.  It was really striking.  I have a few of these that Ted found online for me some years ago and I just love them.  Catholics have the best kitsch, hands down!  Anyhow,  we wandered the marina and took it all in then trudged up the hill to our beds having had a day that we will remember for years.  And may I just add, mi piace pesce!

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June 2021
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