Venerdi Santo ( Good Friday)

Good Friday is not an holiday in Italy. I’m not sure why , the best I can find on line is that it is because it is a fast day making it not a great day to have an holiday.

Mind you there are fasts and then there fasts. In The Roman Catholic Church a fast day means you only eat one big meal and supplement this with two collations or small meals. These are normally breakfast and lunch  or as the Church calls them in Italian colazione prima and seconda. Now I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty much like my normal day’s eating so quite where fast comes in I’m not sure.

When I first went to work in Bombay I popped out at lunchtime for a breath of fresh air which was a bit of a misnomer there to be fair. On the corner near our office a tent had been erected and in it sat a small group of ex employees removed in one of the many re-organisations a few years before. Pinned on the tent were the chilling ( to me) words “Fast To The Death” . I immediately ducked back into the office and said to one of my Indian colleagues that something terrible was happening outside and that we would be faced with deaths within a few weeks. He looked sympathetically at me and said workers here fast “to the death” by taking it in turns not to eat for 2 hours then the fastee races out to fill up on food and water before his turn comes around again. They could be there for years I said. They already have been he replied. Seems the Roman Catholic Church took lessons from India.

Good Friday this year is a total washout though I presume the many parades and processions will take place in the cold rain. Almost every town has a procession on Good Friday and many have them everyday for the week. This year we have jumped into the 21st Century down here in Puglia. There is now a website Puglia Events that publicises  well yes you guessed it, events and boasts an app as well. It means tourists can plan their trip around things they might want to see which is a really good idea. It’s just a pity the weather has decided not to co-operate.

Without wishing to distract from the effort that goes into the processions nor the considerable discomfort of many of the participants as they drag chains, crosses or huge statues around a lengthy route they are all pretty much the same. For some reason almost all of them seem to feature men in long robes and what I can only describe as Klu Klux Clan headgear.


Last year I featured Taranto on this blog and this time it is Francavilla but really they are the same in terms of content.

I’m afraid I shan’t be venturing out this afternoon or this evening to watch any of the parades. It is a night for a log fire and a few cocktails. Talking of cocktails I read this morning that Campari have bought a large Sicilian grappa and limoncello producer Fratelli Averna. They also produce a cheaper competitor product to Campari but I’m sure that is coincidental.

Campari in their announcement say that the purchase broadens their product range and will help them major on the USA market where there has been an enormous increase in the usage of Italian liqueurs and bitters by mixologists.

Mixologists I wondered, ah they mean barmtenders . There seems a fashion for new job titles these days dustmen are refuse disposal experts, ticket inspectors on trains are Revenue Protection Managers and so on . One I am still puzzling over is Person Centred Transition Facilitator. Answers on a post card please.

Anyway these mixologists are clearly now driving Campari strategy. Here is one strutting his stuff in a Rome bar.

Mind you if you were thirsty a drink could take a fair amount of time to arrive me thinks.

Well I had better go and mix my drinks , the sun if I could see it is well over the yardarm. Enjoy your Good Friday where ever you are and internet willing we will speak again tomorrow.





About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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