This is the week of the Festa di San Piero di Castello (but the church is San Pietro), one of Venice's great summertime neighborhood festivals. We intended to walk all the way to the island at the far end of Venice from where we live (it is connected to Castello by two bridges), but because of construction (canal dredging) in Castello, we took a wrong turn, ended up in calli and campi we had never stumbled upon before, and it eventually it made more sense to go to the Celestia stop and take the vaporetto from there to San Pietro. We arrived around at the festa 8. The festa is held in front of the church in the grassy park bordered by a very picturesque canal filled with boats.
Although it was relatively early, there was already a long line to get tickets for the food. Geesepalace and I took turns standing on the line to the cassa, but after forever we got to the front and paid for our order. We received a receipt with a number - 199. Then, we had to wait almost another hour until the servers in the food tents (stand gastronomici) called our number, and at that point we could give them the receipt and they gathered up the items. During all this waiting, I wandered off (first, bought two bottles of beer) and drew (right hand page) the Palladian facade of the church (the ex-cathedral of Venice), and took notes on the food for sale (left hand page) so we would be prepared to order, and then looked at the stands of the rummage sale ("oggetti preziosi"), and South American woven and embroidered clothing at the stand of "solidarieta'". In the meantime, the crowd was growing, night was falling, and the techies were putting the finishing touches to the stage, light, smoke machines, and sound for the concert.
By 10, we had our food (spaghetti con peoce, bigoli con salsa, sarde con polenta, frittura mista di pesce), were seated at a long table in a raucous tent, and the concert had begun. The band was I Cugini di Campagna (The Country Cousins) who had their big hit, Anima Mia, in 1974. They are rock countertenors, and visually they are a cross between Sergeant Pepper costumes, bell bottoms, Frank Zappa and Tiny Tim. A real time-trip. I had checked out their videos on UTube before going. If you look them up, be sure to watch the vintage one (1974) and then one from now. The concert reminded me of watching the vintage has-been rock bands at the Iowa State Fair, and it was wonderful to see and hear the band play their signature song. After we ate, we left the tent and the sound was better. I have no idea how long the concert lasted, but we eventually decided to leave to begin the long walk home. But, we as we began to cross the long footbridge, we stopped to listen to several songs from the bridge. It was a magical scene, with the music, the happy crowd, the boats coming and going in the water (free gondola rides!), the summer night.
That should have been it, but walking down the via Garibaldi, someone called out to us, and it was two people from the NEH seminar sitting at a cafe having a drink. We joined them for about an hour, other people came too. We finally began walking home again, arriving at 1 am.