We have such a fun day today because we had some unexpected visitors – some of Frank’s family from Sicily! We had sent them our itinerary since we will be there in May. It turned out Frank’s cousin’s daughter, Evelina, was in Milano for a conference (she is a dentist in Siracusa) and decided to make a quick trip over the Venezia. She called her son, Antonino, to meet her. Antonino is in dentistry school in Albania. Venice was a central spot, so they came for the weekend. Then they saw the email we had sent and realized we were here. So we linked up and spent the day together.
We started at our apartment and spent the morning piecing together family history and writing out family trees on the Buccheri side (Frank’s mother). They speak much better English than we do Italian, but we still had to consult the dictionary a few times to get things straight.
Then we set out to find the relics of Saint Lucia, who is the patron saint of Siracusa. She was born and died there (in the 4th century) and, to their minds, rightfully belongs back in Sicily. But the Doges of Venice bought her (no doubt in an underhanded scheme) so she is here instead. They only have one finger of hers in Siracusa. Every year in December, the whole town parades through the streets to honor her, and a couple of years ago, Venice even flew her down by helicopter for the celebration. But she returned to Venice and here she stays.
So when someone from Siracusa visits Venice, they make a pilgrimage to the church where Saint Lucia rests. (This was fascinating, as it was not in any of our American guidebooks – I think we have now surpassed Rick Steves.) We all set out and trekked over to the Church of San Geremia. Sadly, it closed right before we got there, but we could look in the window and see Saint Lucia’s remains up on the altar in a glass case. Frank and I will go back there to pay our respects. (When I researched her a little more, I found out that Saint Lucia is celebrated throughout the world, and several countries have a day honoring her.)
Night on the Town
We finished with a fantastic dinner of squid (seppie) sitting in its own black ink at Trattoria Alla Madonna in San Polo. When Frank and I went there before, we were placed in the “tourist” room at the front of the restaurant. With two Italians in tow, we got to walk right through to the back room reserved for locals. We ended the night with a little limoncello and dancing to a fiddle player on the top of the Rialto Bridge. A perfect evening.
Frank and I will be spending two and a half months in Sicily, starting in May. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the family!