Tag Archives: theater

San Petronio, we salute you

7 Oct

Last weekend was a holiday weekend in Bologna; Monday was the feast day of the city’s patron saint, San Petronio.

Documents from the fifth century cast Petronio in a good light—a bishop wrote that he was renowned throughout Italy for his virtues. Petronio was elected as the bishop of Bologna in 432 and built the church for Santo Stefano during his reign (my apartment on the same street was built some time later).

I really like Petronio because of the way he’s depicted in paintings: he’s always protectively cradling or standing over a miniature of the city (distinct because of the towers). (I mostly just like being able to point out something significant in those religious paintings…)

There are at least a handful of paintings with Petronio looking young and smiling, but it's pretty difficult to find those images online without knowing the titles.

Schools were closed to honor the man (though American universities were not—first day of real school!), so I was babysitting during the day for a change. It drizzled in the afternoon, but had stopped by evening. I joined Kristen and a few other SAISers for a feast, and though we didn’t even think to toast San Petronio, we did all partake in traditional Bolognese dishes.

We joined Colin and a few more SAISers in Piazza Maggiore, right in front of the Basilica di San Petronio, to catch the end of a all-male production of an adaption of Cinderella that included such musical hits as “Dancing Queen,” “YMCA,” and “It’s Raining Men”—in Italian.

We were actually there for the fireworks that followed, which were surprisingly good. They were set up to fire off the ground and two levels of city hall, creating a really neat effect. It was certainly the closest I’ve been to professional-grade fireworks, and I went to sleep with ringing ears.

Oh! And Colin had a brush with fame. An Italian SAIS student spotted former Prime Minister Romano Prodi before the fireworks, and a group of them approached him to take a photo. Kristen even gave him a squeeze.