On the road and it’s 11:30am. Fog, mist and not a beam of sun poking through a sorry sky. I’m beginning to think that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea because who is going to want to get out in this ugly weather?
Enter the Festa di San Bassiano, our first festa for the new year. As the patron saint for the town of Lodi, his feast day (Jan. 19th) is a tradition that takes place in the main square every year and it looked as if everyone in the surrounding countryside was in attendance. After all, you don’t need an excuse to go if something is given away for free! 1500 kilos of TRIPE SOUP to feed the masses. That’s 3300 pounds of cooked-until-tender strips of tripe, broad beans, potatoes and broth – all for the taking. It was so delicious that a few sneaky folks kept going back for seconds.
To be honest, we had no idea the token meal would be gratis, only that it was worth checking out to see what all the fuss was about. The real draw was the big open market where we bought salumi, carnevale treats and filled-to-order sicilian cannoli to devour on the spot! I asked myself, why would people, both young and old, stand in line for a bowl of tripe? Why would an occasion such as this be a big deal? The answer to that appeared while composing a shot of the event poster in my viewfinder. There in front of me was written a proverb in humble dialect:
“mangià la büseca el dì de San Bassan vor di stà ben tutt’ l’an”.
“Eat tripe the day of San Bassiano to say well the whole year.”
Also present were a whole line of booths selling filson – long ropes of chestnuts. Roasted chestnut sellers were present too, handing over bags of toasty warmth to chilled fingers.