"L'aventura continua...(the adventure continues)" Santa Lucia di Piave by mapakettle
Santa Lucia di Piave Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 53 photos
Fog in our area of the world is a given in late fall. Fortunately, it often burns off as the day progresses. It does create rather hazardous travel conditions though, so if you have a choice, wait until you have consumed a leisurely cup or two of coffee before you begin your adventures.
We were headed towards the tiny town of Santa Lucia di Piave, located about 40k's due north of Treviso. Nothing is written about this village in any travel books, in fact our reason for visiting was simply to experience the Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, or, in other words, see the medievil exposition that our good friend Lorenzo was involved in.
Lorenzo is a member of Compangnia de LaSpada, which practices the ancient form of combat from the 1300's, using swords, shields, wearing full body armour and chain mail. Ma Kettle and I have been present during practice, and I can tell you, the workout is very, very strenuous. These swords are heavy, and thrusting and blocking for two hours takes its toll on the arms, wrists, and shoulders. The members are very committed to their art, often remaining for life, and become most informed regarding the life and times of the citizenery of the era.
Lorenzo is the 23 year old son of Graziella and Alfio, from the pasticceria 'Alfios' in Padova, that I have mentioned numerous times in the past. These kind people befriended Ma Kettle and me, and together, we have toured Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and numerous places throughout Italy. In fact, it was Graziella and Alfio who introduced us to the Dolomites, part of the Alps, and we have stood side by side at the top of Mt. Marmaloda, the Queen of the Italian Alps, knee deep in snow in early August.
The festival is comprised of various groups who are ' personally invited' by the Comune of Santa Lucia to participate in this grand re-enactment of typical life in the 1300's. Great care is taken by all participants to assure that the feel of realism is created for spectators to enjoy.
We arrived early Saturday morning, and found hoards of school kids in attendance with their teachers. School children in Italy attend school six days a week, rather than five as is normal in North America. The hours may vary, but typically their school day starts at 8am, finishing at about 1pm.
The festival was still setting up when we arrived, and the bulk of the visitors usually come late in the afternoon. We were fortunate in that we had no crowds to battle after the kids boarded their respective school buses, and were free to sample mulled wine, homemade jams and breads, and fill my backpack with local wine.
Lorenzo had been invited to the festival in order to share his knowledge of authentic recipes from that era. He has numerous culinary dishes he has prepared in the past, and received special mention in Italian travel magazines for his efforts. This photo shows him preparing a type of Chick Pea soup from scratch, and ingredients were simple, using only spices readily available to the peasants. This dish was not offered for consumption to visitors, but rather was an interpretation of various life styles of the day. The soup was simply a bonus, and became lunch for favoured members of his association. We felt it needed more salt. LOL.
Lorenzo demonstrated displays of swordsmanship with his Blacksmith buddy, nicknamed Prosecco, and hearing the clash of metal on metal made me appreciate how life has moved on since those days. A great fear of mine has always been getting attacked at knife point. I'm sure my fear would serve to allow me to flee in great haste if the situation ever arose.
Prosecco, who shared space beside Lorenzo, was kept very busy explaining his methods of sword making to the interested spectators. He forges his own steel for the blades, and is one of only three weapons makers in all of Italy (besides his father that is). Many other Blacksmiths fashion swords pieced together with parts purchased from various suppliers, but Prosecco makes the entire weapon from scratch.
Replica weapons are widely available in Italy, many manufactured in the tiny Republic of San Marino, ranging in price from 100 - 300 euro, but mainly these are intended for display purposes only, suitable for mounting on the wall. Actual combat swords which will accomodate continuous metal on metal contact, cost upwards of 3000 euro, and are handcrafted by Prosecco and his dad to the customers specification. These swords will maintain their edge, with no chipping, and with no danger of becoming flying missles during demonstrations.
Since Ma and I had accompanied Lorenzo by car to Santa Lucia di Piave, we were prepared to return home by public transport, or otherwise be forced to wait until midnight for a ride home. We quickly found that buses run rather infrequently, and service to this tiny town was spotty at best. Our instructions as to where we should await the arrival of the Sita bus, turned out to be incorrect, and the bus sailed right past without the driver giving us so much as a backward glance. Perhaps it was a mistake on our part...we weren't sure, but another hour of standing in gravel was proof that no additional bus was due to arrive for at least six more hours.
Taxi service in Santa Lucia is simply non existent, we were stuck !!
We were not about to ask Lorenzo to abandon his cook station either, so we just wandered towards the town centre. Not much to see from a tourists point of view, but Ma managed to sniff out the local church. Ma loves churches in Italy. Since our arrival, I have viewed hundreds (feels like thousands), and I am hard pressed to recall the differences between them. On the other hand, Ma can recount each visit with great clarity.
As I was taking photos of the exterior, Ma became involved in a discussion with a woman who had just left the church. Moments later I found myself being introduced to this lady, and also to a man whom I assumed to be the priest. After a few pleasantries were exchanged in a smattering of English and butchered Italian (on my part), he excused himself, and we started walking to the lot at the rear of the church. I simply followed with no idea where we were headed. Trust is a wonderful thing isn't it?
This kindly lady invited us to tour a local museum where copies of numerous works of art originally sculptured in marble by Brother Claudio Granzotto were featured. His art is located all over Italy, and this newly compiled collection was comprised of copies of every piece ever completed.
Brother Claudio (born 1900, Aug 23) was beatified in 1994 and is currently being considered for sainthood as several miracles have been attributed to him. We were given a private tour of this museum, with a full explanation of each piece on display.
This was quite an opportunity afforded us, and I was free to take as many photos as I wanted.His work is amazing, and I was particularly taken with the two facial carvings 'of surprise' which you will see in my tips section.
Next, our guardian angel accompanied us to the church itself, and we were escorted through every nook and cranny, including walking about the altar itself, and also took a hike up the very narrow winding staircase to the loft high above where the antique organ was housed, in perfect working condition I might add.. Every piece of artwork, every marble bust, all the beautiful wood carvings were explained in complete and loving detail.
This opportunity was unbelievable. Why us? I still shake my head in wonder. To top it off, this wonderful lady then drove us 8 kms to Conegliano to catch our train, talking non-stop the entire way. She stopped in a no parking zone, and as we got out of the vehicle, the police waved her on, so we never even had an opportunity to learn her name.
- Pros:Delightful surprise to find the museum
- Cons:limited transportation makes visiting difficult without a vehicle
- In a nutshell:Worth a visit if you have a car, and lots of spare time to kill, otherwise, give it a pass
Ma was tickled to wander about, with a skilled guide who obviously loved talking about her topic. Of course, all... more travel advice
We were pleasantly surprised to find such a beautiful church in Santa Lucia di Piave. We were even more pleased to find... more travel advice
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